Saturday, October 27, 2007

Read the fine print.


Someone posted a link to the Daily Triplicate- the newspaper for Del Norte County and Southern Oregon- the other day, so I added it to my news list. A few interesting things happening up north, but this letter to the editor really caught my eye this morning:

What? The fine print on the labeling of the hoses the guy buys says... hose contains carcinogens... wash your hands after every use... do not drink water from this hose?

I'm wondering if the last hoses we bought were the same kind? I didn't read the labeling.


At 9:32 AM, Blogger Tapperass said...

Now you can't drink the water from a garden hose? That is something that crossed all socio-economic, and cultural boundaries. We all have done it, at one point in time. Now, it is no longer safe. The hose has chemicals that can be hazardous. Lead? Is it lead from China?

Very sad indeed.


At 10:19 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

It begs the question of whether it's some hyped up cancer scare about some chemical that's in all hoses and wasn't of concern before, or just some chemical in that particular brand or style.

I'm going to try and remember the read the label on various hoses next time at a store that carries hoses.

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is really bizarre. Everyone who has a hose drinks out of it at some time or anotehr - and kids do it all the time...

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I made a feeble attempt at a search using the words, "carcinogens in water hoses" and got nowhere. If anyone finds any info on this, please post it here.

At 6:26 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

FYI I recently encountered multiple plumbing fixtures on sale in a Georgia Home Depot (not prohibited here) with a Calif Prop 65 warning label. The item was made of brass whose production process requires the use of minute amounts of lead. As any Kalifornia "progressive" is aware, brass is responsible for millions of deaths world wide, second only to dihidrous monoxide. Hose connectors fabricated from such irresponsibly manufactured materials are a menace to mankind.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

That's what I'm wondering: If this is some bogus environmental scare?

At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hose connectors fabricated from such irresponsibly manufactured materials are a menace to mankind."

Arcata is expected to enacted a "brass free zone" at the next council meeting.

At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody knows that water that's been sitting in a garden hose tastes "funny". And the RVers know that there are special hoses sold (I think they're usually white in color) to hook up potable water connections. Also, the FDA approves certain plastics to be used to hold food, other plastics (like PVC) aren't approved because they can leach harmful chemicals at a faster rate.

Now the question for most people is just how dangerous is drinking from a garden hose or putting food into an unapproved container? If you're really scientifically oriented and knnowledgeable you might be able to answer that, although only statistically. Even the Romans took many years to supposedly suffer the health effects of using lead pipes for drinking water and cigarette smokers suffer increased illness after years of smoking.

So there you have it. The recommendations are clear, you can choose to follow or ignore them. To do that intelligently, you need to learn more.

Finally you may not be free to choose to make someone else ignore the recommendations, like a user of a product you make or a customer of your business. That's the law and that's why the warnings are put on the products.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

10:36 PM is correct, but like most other well intentioned government regulations it is carried ad absurdum. The profusion of warning labels on every imaginable product has resulted in them being placed mainly to avoid liability as one can conceivably abuse anything. I would also question how a provider is able to "...choose to make someone else ignore the recommendations...".

At 7:18 AM, Blogger Pogo said...

Warning!: Irony alert provided for the benefit of laurel and hardy
It is now apparent what has killed off so many hapless victims in Humboldt's clandestine farming industry in addition to the toxic meth labs polluting the water supply. Contrary to the cause of death being an "overdose": 1. The farmers inadvertently drank water from those black polycarbonate water lines. 2. The 215 card holders (customers) were in fact killed by ingesting cannabis irrigated with water from those water lines and not by the dreaded diseases with which they were "diagnosed". Additional warning labels are definitely in order!

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep drinking water out of that hose Fred. Yes, keep drinking.

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When someone provides a product or service knowing there is a likely health or safety risk and the risk isn't commonly known, not telling the user about its deciding for the user to ignore the risk.
Exactly when and how to inform a user is a matter of law, custom, and tradition.

I believe that disclosure promotes commerce since it gives buyers more confidence to strike a deal. It's also more economically efficient for mass produced and standardized products, since only one seller does due diligence rather than many buyers individually doing their own.

Of course disclosure inhibits the conmen, sharpies, and folks who believe that trading is a purely competitive process. Fortunately for the US, the Constitution hasn't been found to protect a freedom to actively misrepresent or deceive and active disclosure is becoming more of a norm.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

1:03 PM I would submit that what you reference in your first paragraph would be more appropriately characterized as concealing a risk rather than deciding for the user to ignore same.

Be that as it may, reasonable disclosure is in the interest of both the provider and the user. Providers (businesses) do not long prosper by failing to exercise due diligence or worse, engage in subterfuge and tort law necessarily discourages such practices as I suspect you are aware.

Trading is indeed a competitive process and we hardly need to discuss a constitutionally protected right to engage in fraud or deceit. This subject is well presented in the recently published work "Freedomnomics: why the free market works and other half-baked theories don't" by the economist . John R. Lott Jr. Ph.D .

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ, we have some agreement, but I take exception to your assertion that lack of due diligence is inconsistent with long term individual prosperity.

Fraud and financial scandals are a constant, the techniques and methods change. The latest being identity theft, phishing, email ponzi scams. And certainly you've noticed the subprime loan debacle and maybe remember Milken/Boesky junk bond marketers, multilevel marketing scams, and contaminated pet food. Some individuals pursue long careers in deception. Do you know who Charles Keating is and what he's now doing?

See any TV infomercials misstating the utility of shoddy products? Notice that the same people have been at it for many years? The marketplace is full of conmen(concompanies) who show great resilience, persistence and ingenuity. And they prosper quite well.

Some locals argue that Charles Hurwitz is essentially in this category, I don't know but he's certainly been involved in many bankrupt businesses, which seems suspicious to me. But that history doesn't seem to impair his ability to borrow money to finance his future ventures or enjoy a very affluent lifestyle for himself and his family.

At 7:23 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

3:04 PM, As you say, fraud and scandals are and always have been with us. Common sense teaches us that sensational and egregiously imprudent practices are the stuff of the news media. If they were commonplace they would not be news. I believe you would be hard put to name many private businesses that failed to provide contracted for services or products over a reasonable period and continued to prosper.

Exceptions to the above generally involve government monopolies or heavily publicly regulated industries such as the former savings and loans and utilities (Enron). Those able to wield political influence such as Charles Keating and his 5 Senate enablers (one of which is contending for the highest office in the nation) were able to wreak havoc in the government insured and regulated savings and loan industry as are the imprudent recent lenders who issued sub-prime loans to questionable credit risks due to government underwriting policies. In a free market they would have been eliminated long ago. It has been my experience that whenever a government enterprise begins to fail, the solution most commonly proffered is additional government involvement which arguably was the original cause of the failure ( Amtrack?).

The criminal acts which you enumerate are just that, violations of criminal law and I fail to see their relevance to the subject at hand. As for hucksters (Hurwitz?) and those who engage in so called "boiler room" marketing, they will always be with us as long as gullible humans exist who wish something for (or near) nothing. The best advice continues to be "caveat emptor".

This exchange has drifted some distance from the original subject of warning labels and into the advisability of a (semi?) command vs free economy. It is unlikely that the two schools will soon converge but at least we have been able to engage in courteous debate which is too often absent from comments on this blog.

Nevertheless, I again highly recommend the Lott book linked to in my post of 2:26 PM and as I reside a few time zones upstream from Humboldt county I must bid you adiós for now.

At 12:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, I did a Google search earlier this evening for (Poison CFL) and came up with many sources of information on poisonous mercury in CFL (or as I prefer to call them, curleycue light bulbs.)

Maybe you should try a Google search on (Poison water hoses.)

At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great! Now that I'm old enough and wise enough to want to read the fine print, my tired old eyes won't let me!


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