This article has been sitting as a draft for months. It seems more than appropriate to roll it out at the moment as I think this whole subject underlines a very important point we’ve been trying to make recently, both in our articles and in some discussions about the TransCanada pipeline project…
Don’t adopt the arguments of the left in the short run to win a “battle”, otherwise you will lose “the war”.
Perhaps some folks need refreshing on the very real effects of the religious-like fervor for “saving the planet”. I have a few to share here:
Notice a film on your dishes lately? Having to check every glass to make sure there isn’t a funky residue with little chunks of God-knows-what deposited inside? Your plastic utensils coated with a white film?
You are not imagining things and, no, your dishwasher is not dying.
Your soap has been rendered ineffective because 17 states banned the use of phosphates in consumer dishwasher detergents. In response to the bans, all consumer soap manufacturers have changed to phosphate-free versions, unbeknownst to their customers, unless the “goin’ green” imagery and messaging on packages provides a clue. (Anyone else SICK of seeing this color everywhere you look?) But there is, of course, a practical consideration; manufacturing and distributing different formulations to those 17 states would be costly and inefficient. Consequently, the remaining 33 states became “phosphate-free” without really having a say in the matter.
Phosphates in consumer soap seems very much like regional and state mandates for particular blends of gas. Yes, these kinds of mandates are brilliant. Unlike gasoline, however, instead of driving up the cost of the soap, other costs of getting one’s dishes clean are soaring.
In Washington state, one of those costs, early on in the effort to ban phosphates, was driving across the border. Yes, residents of Washington were turned into…soap smugglers, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, April 2009 article, “The dirty truth: They’re Smuggling Soap in Spokane“. Those law breaking Spokanites(?) were not long allowed to continue their soap runs, however, as bans went into effect in neighboring states within a year.
Several articles reported that the switch to the new formulas would have become noticeable across the country starting sometime in the summer of 2010. The change in dish cleanliness seems to be widespread, but the severity of problems experienced by consumers does depend also on local water quality, use of in-home water treatment systems, specific choice of dishwasher detergent, and dishwasher model.
Based on the reading I’ve now done, most consumers react in similar ways to the degrading cleanliness of their dishes. It generally begins with puzzlement, followed by various measures to fix, including, for some, the drastic decision to actually purchase a new dishwasher. (As one woman noted on a discussion forum, she felt she had no choice after spending two days looking at a plumbers’ rear sticking out of her old dishwasher and still no solution.) Besides total appliance replacement, I read comments from consumers who reported they’d thrown out dishware and utensils that were coated with a white film because they were concerned it was getting into their food when cooking.
Besides the time driving oneself nuts over-analyzing dish-loading technique, nearly universally, people report time and money going literally down the drain in re-washing dirty dishes either by hand or in another machine cycle, or experiments with pre-rinsing and/or soaking dishes before running a cycle. Some report totally abandoning the use of the dishwasher and washing all dishes by hand. Many eventually find their way to the internet to see if anyone else is having a similar problem. Solutions suggested for dealing with the film-encrusted dishes includes adding one’s own phosphates, purchased from hardware and home improvement stores. Such advice inevitably touches off a debate about whether or not such a measure is advisable; particular brews of phosphate additives, some web surfers claim, can damage one’s dishwasher.
We’re all kitchen chemists now.
Your head hurt yet? Mine surely does.
It’s just DISHES FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! I want to scrape off the food, load up the dang thing, put in some soap, and push a stinking button!
I won’t hide it, this one is very personal for me. I have been homeschooling for over a decade, so I’ve had many more dishes to deal with than the majority of households of five. My dishwasher loading skills have been finely honed; naturally motivated by the desire to keep cost and time spent down to the minimum, I’ve mastered the fine art of packing the dishwasher to max capacity while ensuring the dishes still get clean, and doing it quickly. But I should have used the past tense. Within the past year, the time I’ve spent fooling around with my dishes has increased dramatically.
Yes, this is personal. Religious-zealots (the greenies) and their advocates – the lobbyists – and politicians have had a direct negative impact on my daily life.
One very shrewd comment on the Appliance.net site articulated the problem very well:
“So, do the benefits of getting rid of phosphates in dish soap outweigh the squandered resources of time, effort, lots of water, and lots of wasted new pollution and materials needed to manufacture new sets of everything ruined by washing without phosphates? And what of the likely overdosing of phosphates by tens of thousands of homes forced to guess at the phosphate mixture by people who try to do it themselves? Is there any benefit left over? Beats me, but off hand I’d say it’s not likely.”
As is consistently the case, these “green” initiatives don’t actually reduce energy use, they increase it.
I can report that after months of aggravation, I’ve settled on a very uneasy detente with the soap and my dishwasher, although many of my metal baking sheets are now unrecognizable and I’m sure I’m wearing the enamel down on my teeth due to regular gritting. Here’s what I’m doing to (mostly) avoid white scum covered dishes with minute bits of food still attached:
- Using a rubber scraper, I make sure NOTHING is left on the dishes
- Any “tough” items are pre-soaked in the sink
- After loading any sizable quantity of dishes, I hit the “rinse” button
- My dishwasher settings are ALL maxed out; longest cycle, highest heat, etc.
- Every few days I sprinkle a product called LemiShine liberally on the door area
Here’s why I think this procedure works:
- Phosphates assisted soap in stripping away and suspending particles so they don’t reattach to the dishes; thorough scraping and pre-rinsing removes most particles.
- Higher temperatures and additional rinse cycles ensure remaining particles are more readily removed and flushed away.
- The LemiShine helps prevent a build-up of the white scum of remaining soap particles inside the dishwasher.
YES!! This is really saving energy isn’t it?! And so cost-effective!!
A stroll around the internet reveals more than the lengthy discussions of how to solve the real problem of mucked up dishes. As usual, much of the media is grinding their axes. On the above referenced Appliance.net comments, one finds an NPR reporter soliciting site visitors for interviews on the subject. The resulting article does detail how people are “tearing their hair out” over their mysteriously dirty dishes, but, of course, ends with the general sentiment that we just need to put up with all of this. The environment, don’t you know, is more important. One finds a very similar article in the New York Times. As is so often the case, it’s full of dots its reporter is incapable of connecting.
Several disturbing trends reveal themselves, both in media reports about “green” policies and in the larger political landscape:
- State-level lawmakers, used to no detailed scrutiny from their constituents, are passing an unbelievable amount of regulation-increasing legislation
- American companies and trade associations just roll over without a fight (in the case of soap manufacturers, check out the American Cleaning Institute’s website)
- Too many Americans simply accept whatever regulation is imposed, without question (note comments from consumers in the NPR and NYT articles) OR don’t even know the source of a problem
While I believe our primary deficit as a country involves morals and ethics, next on the list is critical thinking skills. We’re being assaulted with faulty logic every day. Of course many of us recognize this increasing problem, but clearly, it’s not nearly enough of us.
Phosphate bans are the tip of the green iceberg, of course. Regulations and mandates impacting one’s personal time, expense, and quality of life are everywhere. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul recently articulated the effect of such regulations in an Energy Committee Hearing. He essentially read the riot act to the head of the EPA. It seems a rare moment in Congress – a Senator saying to a bureaucrat what many of us would like to say. Watch the video, which includes part of Paul’s rant found in this article on R3publican.
That green iceberg includes regulations and mandates which are beginning to affect nearly every area of our home. “Energy efficient” appliances, light bulbs, and, yes, even toilets, are now mandated, and are, more often than not, inferior and more expensive as compared to older models. When it comes to dishwashers, some of the consumers who have reported they took the drastic step of purchasing a new model in an effort to get clean dishes, found their problems not only did not improve, they worsened. Some of the newer “energy efficient” models are poor performers. Wow. Who didn’t see that coming?
When my clothes washer died in 2009, I experienced first hand how the new regulations are impacting price. In order to get a machine that did the same job all my previous washers had done in providing a standard feature high temperature cycle, I had to pay an additional $200. I had to climb into a higher price range to get a machine with that “sanitizing cycle” rated to kill germs and dust mites. New “energy saving” regulations have reduced the standard temperatures of hot water cycles. Such a feature is a medical necessity in my household as one of my children is allergic to dust mites. Thanks, EPA!!
My personal experience points out one of the problems overlooked by the lunacy infesting government policy; in addition to increased costs, water, and energy used, there are real health implications that come with dirty, soap-film covered dishes and lukewarm water in the laundry. Senator Paul mentions toilets. It’s absurd that such a subject becomes fodder for political discourse, but those of us interested in basic standards of hygiene certainly did not ask for that conversation. The *ahem* singular incidents of ineffective flushing are, of course, a nuisance, and the cause of additional water usage, but the effects of the low-flow toilet mean one is left cleaning their toilet much more frequently than had previously been necessary or it’s just…gross. Again, more water, more chemicals, and more germs. Are we saving anything?
And how about public safety? “Energy efficiency” policies that result in the dimming of lights (reducing numbers, replacement with dimmer, more energy-efficient bulbs) could result in the emergence of rising crime rates and increased numbers of traffic accidents. As the Rutgers University Crime Prevention Service points out: “Lighting may be the single, most cost-effective way to prevent crime”. A 2008 Virginia Department of Transportation report extensively investigated the ramifications of policies to reduce roadway lighting. The conclusion? When lights are dimmed, accident rates go up.
We’ve all heard about the ban on incandescent light bulbs that was looming. The first wave recently went into effect. As a Fox News report points out, it’s not so much that 100 watt incandescent bulbs have been banned, it’s that the new government standards for manufacture have resulted in the complete cessation of American manufacturers’ production of the bulbs.
Mission accomplished…the bulbs are going to disappear. Hmm, that’s a GREAT idea, considering the new bulbs essentially require a visit from HazMat when broken. Check out CFact’s webpage for a whole lot more information about light bulb insanity.
Such tactics seem eerily similar to then-candidate Obama’s strategy for electrical consumption, as articulated to the San Francisco Chronicle during the last Presidential election.
Obviously, this article could go on and on and on in parallel to the ongoing assault on our reason, our choices, our time, and our pocketbooks. Policymakers at EPA have now targeted our ice cube makers, for instance.
Here is a summary of other areas of life now affected by this insane “going green” fever, some of which have negative effects and cost that go well beyond additional expenditure of energy, time, and cash:
C.A.F.E. Standards: The more fuel efficient the car, the more people DIE in them. Regulators and fans of government regulation admit this, but say that the trouble is NOT the regulations. The trouble is that the regulators didn’t set the same standards for trucks and SUVs that they set for cars. As a result, cars have gotten smaller and more fuel-efficient faster than trucks/SUVs have. So, when a small, fuel-efficient car hits or is hit by one of those trucks/SUVs, the people in the car are six times more likely to die than the people in the truck/SUV. To remedy this problem, the fans of regulation and big government, most notably here the anti-carbon-fuel enviro-wackos, are advocating that trucks/SUVs be required to meet the same standards, essentially, as cars. This would do away with trucks/SUVs — although advocates appear to deny that — and, to the extent trucks/SUVs were made, the enviro-wackos say they should be taxed heavily so they would actually pay the “cost” of the damage they do. Oh, and farmers and other people who really NEED trucks, etc., could be given a tax credit so they could afford to buy one. ARGGGGH!
D.D.T. Ban: Doing away with D.D.T. has caused increases in deaths from malaria worldwide. Although one of the EPA’s own panels determined D.D.T. was not harmful to the environment and when in use, had saved hundreds of millions of lives, its use is banned. Some projections estimate over 100 million people have needlessly died of malaria since DDT was banned. Like moving dishwashing back decades from its technological advancements, measures to deal with malaria have become retrograde; massive campaigns have been undertaken to distribute mosquito nets.
2010 B.P. Gulf Oil Spill: Increasing bans and limitations on off-shore drilling have sent companies further and further away from the coasts to engage in increasingly risky deep water drilling, which raises the probability of catastrophic incidents such as the one that occurred in the Gulf in 2010. While any negligence on BP’s part is not to be overlooked, Americans must ask themselves whether they want to support the NIMBY mentality and radical environmentalism that leads to riskier drilling practices.
Foreign Oil INCLUDING TransCanada’s: Nebraskans decrying the TransCanada pipeline project on environmental bases might wish to think twice. How did tar sands oil extraction become profitable? Through the regulations, limitations, and outright bans prohibiting access to the many safer deposits of oil that exist within the United States. Supporting leftist lawsuits regarding a burying beetle and listing the supposedly horrendous qualities of chemicals added to tar sands crude which allow it to be piped in efforts to derail the project only allow such arguments to gain further credibility. People need to stop beating the enviro-wackos’ drum and start pounding another: Drill, baby, drill – in America!
Missouri River Flooding 2011: As American Thinker’s Joe Herring very articulately explained in a June, 2011, article, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the Missouri River flooding catastrophe was planned by those wishing to restore the river’s “natural flow,” all in the interest of protecting wildlife and habitat, don’t you know. As a lifelong “river rat” who lived near the Sioux City, Iowa, area until 2006 when I moved to Lincoln, I can personally attest to the changes in river management within my lifetime that ultimately led to the horrifying flooding that is still devastating large swaths of land for hundreds of miles. Imagine the intersection at 9th & P Streets covered in water up to the streetlights and you share my disbelief when I visited Sioux City in June and July this year and saw the Hamilton Boulevard exit closed by flood waters that were washing nearly a block up the street.
The full extent of the damages caused to property and livelihoods of millions of residents and continuing disruption to commerce and travel is not even fully known. Such reckless ideology should not be imposed upon the public, and the only way to prevent it is to reduce the size and reach of government.
Wynstone, South Dakota (just north of the Nebraska and Iowa borders), resident William Kevin Stoos’ editorial “I hope the plover are happy” concluded with thought that should give all Americans pause:
“If this example of “flood control” is any indication of how the government is going to run our health care system, God help us all.“
The Missouri River flooding has received little coverage by media perhaps because it is a stark illustration of environmental religiousity run amok. Piping plover and pallid sturgeon receive priority over human beings and property rights. Government has too much power over our lives.
The obvious question is: What to do about it?
I do have some practical recommendations associated with the “green gone wild” problem…but, yes, they will take up some of our time and, yes, sometimes it might get a little uncomfortable. Considering the increasing impact on our time, wallets, property, and even lives, it seems worth the investment and discomfort.
- Start complaining to manufacturers. Send an email, a letter, or make a call to their 800 number consumer hotline. Apparently they aren’t hearing from enough of their customers to mount the necessary resistance. Just one example can be found in the articles about dishwasher detergent. Proctor and Gamble, for instance, apparently has not heard from enough of its customers about the inferior quality of its phosphate-free dishwasher detergent.
- Complain to retailers who are loudly banging the “green” drum. If you believe these businesses are contributing to a climate of opinion (pun intended) that is resulting in negative policies, let them know. Rather than clinching our jaws as we grind our teeth in irritation, time to open them and talk.
- STOP patronizing businesses and companies who are working actively to help promote policies that result in nonsense regulations. I’m not going to spend time compiling a list of such companies for the purposes of promoting a “boycott”. We all have to make our own purchasing decisions, to be sure. But, isn’t it worth considering how we are contributing to the adoption of these policies if we are adding to the profit margins of companies who are working to see these policies implemented?
Just one very notorious example of such a company is General Electric. Some links:
GE’s Jeff Immhelt: Global Warming ‘Compelling’, Cap-and-Trade Most ‘Effective’ Way to Go, also see footnote [1. The National Center for Public Policy Research, based in Washington, D.C., recently revealed that I am not alone in my own sentiments about GE and even succeeded in bringing the issue of the company’s embrace of climate change hysteria in front of shareholders as a question, as noted in an April 27, 2011, press release. While I find the entire endeavor by NCPPR interesting, I don’t agree with their tactic of holding a rally to “fire Jeff”. I think they diminish the credibility of their effort in turning it so obviously political. It’s a valid point for GE shareholders to consider, however: are the company’s policies going to hurt revenues? Shouldn’t they?]
- Start talking to family and friends. Until Linda and I discussed my dishwashing woes, I was like many other people; I didn’t know the cause. Once I began to search around for more information, I found, as explained above, most people are befuddled by the problem. Brief discussions with family and friends might help someone else discover the source. But my suggestion to increase discussion of such subjects goes for politics in general. If we continue to adhere to the “silent rule” that we should not talk about politics, we’re not going to turn things around. We need more political discourse, not less. Of course we should be smart about HOW we do it.
MY FINAL SUGGESTION…
I’m considering starting a new company…
Want to buy shares in such a venture?
Our first product would be dishwasher soap LOADED with awesome phosphates!!
Here’s a concept for the packaging…
‘Cause the kicker is…COMMERCIAL detergents still have phosphates. (Yes, you’re thinking about how actually stupid these bans really are…right?)
We just need some packaging and a supply of commercial dishwasher soap . I’m only partly kidding – – know any commercial soap suppliers and package makers looking for a niche market business opportunity?
[jbox color=”white” shadow=”3″ width=”600″ content_css=”font-size: 24px; color:#575757; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;” icon=”http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/camera.ico”]Image Credit & Copyright Notice[/jbox]
“If at first you don’t succeed keep on flushing” photo from AsSeenInBathrooms.com
Revolt! Dishwasher Detergent image copyright Grassroots in Nebraska, all rights reserved.
[jbox color=”white” shadow=”3″ width=”600″ content_css=”font-size: 24px; color:#575757; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;” icon=”http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/book.ico”]Footnotes, References & Citations[/jbox]