Another popular myth surrounding Legionnaire's disease is that single-handle faucets and low-flow showerheads are prone to contamination. But no existing studies back this up. These fixtures are no more prone to Legionella growth than any others. They are susceptible to the same water-delivery issues that other fixtures are and rely on proper maintenance and routine testing to be safe.
Low-flow showerheads in particular are targeted because the technology in certain models uses the induction of air into the water stream to get the feeling of a stronger flow of water. But routine maintenance and proper prevention practices should apply to all buildings, whether or not the showerheads are low-flow or not.
In the United States, many agencies and boards review the existing body of knowledge and suggest certain guidelines and practices. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website features an investigation protocol for facilities. Also, 25 states have developed their own sets of rules. OSHA generally issues penalties and fines for not testing and failing to conduct routine maintenance when outbreaks occur under its General Duties clause.
Dawn Renee Robinson is the communications manager for Plumbing Manufacturers International and part of their team directed at providing safe, reliable information and resources for the plumbing industry.
Health Risks and Legionella: Separating Fact from Fiction
Potable Hospital Water Major Source of Legionella Bacteria
Common Myths Surrounding Legionnaire's Disease
Spotlight: Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI)