Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Feeling Flushed: Public Toilet Regulations

Does our nation's standard of inequality have you running to the restroom to check your smudged guy-liner? Well, hold onto your mascara, Children of Lambert, because with the woeful lack of regulations on public bathrooms in this country you might want to consider waiting. Not only are there generally no restrooms to be had, but those that are available are filthsome at best.

On a scale of one to ten how big of a priority is using the bathroom to you? For us, it's somewhere in between food, shelter and Harry Potter. While the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) requires employers to provide access to clean restrooms to all of their workers, there are no government regulations requiring businesses to supply latrines to their patrons. Similarly disappointing is the lack of any federal requirement for water-closets on state property. So if you plan on leaving the house today, you'd better pack your stadium pal or be prepared to break some public urination laws.

The American Restroom Association (ARA) maintains that the people's bladders deserve a defender. Some ARA research revealed that the inability to access safe/clean/non-rat-infested bathrooms can dramatically affect one's health. For example, it was discovered that people would rather risk dehydration than drink enough water to send them to a municipal toilet in New York City. Additionally, public schools don't answer to the DHHS's standards of restroom facilities. Imagine America's children. Now imagine them without bathrooms. Look again: they are forced to urinate into trashcans, empty bottles, and shrubbery. Now, back to me: these unbelievable circumstances are real -- there are accounts of "bathroom lock-downs" in Minnesota, Florida, and South Carolina, et al.

Wouldn't you agree that access to a restroom is a serious health issue? Especially since we know (some of us all too well) that emergency street-peeing is an imprisonable offense! So why should we be law breakers for answering the call of nature when the lawmakers don't seem to respond to this vital concern. You're telling me that the government can tell me who I can and cannot marry but doesn't have to enforce simple health standards? Guess I'll be crossing my legs for the foreseeable future.


  1. In Ontario, it was (at least in 2008) mandated by the Building code that you have to supply bathrooms for your customers. I don't know if that has changed and I don't know about anywhere else in the world but if you say that it's true convincingly enough, you can persuade people to let you use their employee bathrooms.

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