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Detector Nannies


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American Spectator:

George Orwell would have loved them. The members of the California State Legislature, unwilling to come to grips with their giant deficit, have decided instead that all 37 million of their fellow citizens must be saved from death by carbon monoxide.

How? By passing a law -- with little publicity -- requiring every single-family home in the state that has gas or electric appliances, a fireplace and/or attached garage to install carbon monoxide detectors -- by July 1!

How great is the threat? Not very. The acting State fire marshal claims that nationally an average of 480 people die of carbon monoxide poisoning. That is a tragedy for those involved, of course, but in California, with about 11 percent of the population, that would mean an average of 53 such deaths a year. Rather than requiring every home -- about 15 million of them -- to pay $20 to $40 per detector (and some homes would require more than one), an extensive statewide public service ad campaign should achieve the same cautionary result at very little cost. Legislators, however, don't think that way. It's easier to play Nanny and "mandate" things.

If the average California home spends an average of, say, $30, for a Nanny-imposed detector that would be a total of $450 million going to retail dealers and manufacturers of the devices. A recent "study" conducted by First Alert, a company that makes and sells carbon monoxide detectors, "found" that nine of 10 California households "were not in compliance with the national recommendation for the number of carbon monoxide detectors required in a home," according to a recent news story. The people at First Alert must be salivating. One wonders how many legislators' campaigns received contributions from them.

First it was incandescent bulbs, now carbon monoxide detectors. What's next?snip
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