Your showerhead can kill you ...

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Agu, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. Agu

    Agu New Member

    May 21, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    Recent research found that mycobacterium avium lives in the majority of showerheads tested...

    Heard Dr Pace interviewed on NPR and he found that plastic showerheads/ plumbing harbored a significantly higher level of pathogens than metal showerheads/plumbing. The interesting part to me, as an aquarist, is that copper is an effective antipathogen in aquariums, to the point where it can kill not only parasites but also corals and invertebrates. Perhaps copper plumbing is not only efficient, but it also protects our health ?
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    That is true.
    One of the good points of copper.
    It's funny because there is a lot of debate over what is best but really the answer is there is no perfect material and when it's invented I'll surly be using it. Really the answer is to select the best material for use in the particular application for best results.
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  4. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    damn...everything is trying to kill ya

    I cant even play with my rubber duckie
    in the shower any more without worrying
    about getting blasted with bacteria...
    quack .....quack..

    I would think that the chlorine in the water would just about kill anything in the plumbing system....but then their are people complaining about the high levels of chlorine killing you too...

    everything is unsafe out there...

    Redwood., what are we all gonna do??

    save me......:D

  5. seaofnames

    seaofnames DIY Senior Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    Mission, BC
    Run pex and have copper stub outs!! So you have the best of both worlds!!

    Just another scare tactic that you cant do much about unless you are a germaphobe.
  6. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Jul 24, 2007
    Robber, with some DIY on the side.
    Sod you lot. I am going back to lead.

    There must have been some advantages to using it.

  7. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oct 7, 2005
    You don't have to worry about paying for college. :)
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    You lost your mind s.l.o.w.l.y...with lead pipe...I just was looking at a leaking lead pipe the other day...I told the guy that the whole line needed to be replaced...he had no Idea that his main supply line was lead...
  9. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    It's hard to see this as a serious threat, and it is one that can be controlled/reduced. Consider a couple of things for a moment to put the results in perspective:

    1. Who puts their face into the initial stream of water from the showerhead? Nobody that I know of (with an asterisk *) Okay, so if the concentration is 100 times higher in that initial rush of water where does most of it end up? Down the drain. So perhaps the level is still elevated by the time the shower taker is actually wetting face and hair, but it is likely to be at worst a few times greater than normal tap water. If so then it is not any more of a threat.

    2. There should be several ways of reducing the concentration. One that was already mentioned was using a metal showerhead. But it would also seem that doing the intial warm up of the shower with full hot would also be helpful in chasing out the worst of the nasties. Warming this way is faster and actually uses less water (and perhaps less water heating) because it doesn't waste cold water in the mix. Those who are really paranoid could let it run somewhat longer in hot only mode...

    3. Using a non-aerating showerhead should eliminate the worst of the minute suspended droplets that are the real cause for concern.

    4. It was the largest municipal systems that had the problems, not smaller systems and wells.

    * The two things this does make me wonder about are recirc systems and tub/shower diverters. With both the shower head will have relatively little flow through it before the water reaches temp. (With the tub/shower diverter one is inclined to warm up rapidly through the higher flow tub spout, and do the initial temp setting there.) In those cases one might be more likely to be doused with higher concentration of bacteria.

    A direct link is: This includes video.
  10. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Jul 24, 2007
    Robber, with some DIY on the side.
    Looks like I'll be answering the lead pipe question myself.

    Lead is actually more expensive than copper which is another reason people do not use it for pipework.

    Its main advantages were corrosion resistance and ease of manipulation. In fact it is still used in specialist applications that require these features e.g. laboratory plumbing.
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