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Is it safe to use the public restroom?

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posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:26 PM
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For many people, it could be the most terrifying part of their day; the moment they walk into the public restroom stall and are confronted with the public toilet.

Dozens of questions pop to mind; when was this last cleaned? Who used this last? Is there any creepy, crawly germs sticking around on that seat? Is this thing really safe? And finally; Can I hold it until I get home?

For most people, waiting ‘till you get home isn’t an option and they’ll have to take their chances with the public toilet. Most women I know say they have mastered the skill of hovering over the toilet while they go. Seems awfully strenuous to me though, especially if you’re having trouble pushing something out. Makes me wonder if the public toilet is really that dangerous after all, so I decided to look into it.


What Can You Catch in Restrooms?

Many people consider toilet seats to be public enemy No. 1 -- the playground for organisms responsible for STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea. But before you panic, the toilet seat is not a common vehicle for transmitting infections to humans. Many disease-causing organisms can survive for only a short time on the surface of the seat, and for an infection to occur, the germs would have to be transferred from the toilet seat to your urethral or genital tract, or through a cut or sore on the buttocks or thighs, which is possible but very unlikely.

"To my knowledge, no one has ever acquired an STD on the toilet seat -- unless they were having sex on the toilet seat!" says Abigail Salyers, PhD, president of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

Medicine Net

See, most germs, even those notorious STDs, can’t live long enough or in numbers strong enough to cause problems unless you have cuts or open sores on your backside. Then again, if you have open, puss oozing sores on your bottom, maybe the guy who comes along after YOU has more to worry about.

Some studies have even shown that the toilet seat is one of the most germ free areas in your average office building.


Myth: Toilet Seats Are the Dirtiest Thing in the Bathroom

Gerba defines a sanitary surface as something clean enough to eat off of, with no more than 1,000 bacteria per square inch. The toilet seat passed that test, but "20/20" reporter Don Dahler's desk failed.

Still, it will be hard for most people to accept the conclusions shown by the data.

"No matter how often you hear that, you know, it's safer to eat your turkey wrap off the toilet seat than your desktop at work, you're just not going to believe it," said Janse.

ABC 20/20

See there, there’s no reason for all of those people to have such a level of paranoia about the public restroom. We should all feel free to plop our bottoms right down on that seat and get comfortable while we’re doing our business. Heck, we should even feel free to take our lunch in there and eat it right off the seat, they’re so clean and germ free, right? You could just picture yourself chowing down on your lunch on that toilet seat, right?

What? You say you’re not buying it? You think this is just a load of gubment disinformation as part of one of their evil depopulation agendas? Maybe I should look a little further into this.












Upon further review, not everybody seems to agree that it’s so impossible to get a STD from the toilet seat. It looks like that doctor was exaggerating when they said the only way to get a STD from the toilet would be to have sex on it.


Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Public Restroom

The one possible exception is the herpes virus. Studies have shown that the secretions from an open herpes sore can survive outside the body for up to four hours. Theoretically, once they have contaminated a toilet seat, the herpes microorganisms could infect another toilet-user who has a sore or break in the skin (which allows the virus to enter the body). But because a sufficient amount of the virus is necessary to penetrate the body's defenses, infection is unlikely, according to Martin Favero, Ph.D., a microbiologist with the Hospital Infections Program of the CDC. Still, it's not impossible, he says.

The crab louse, a non-germ villian, could also possibly be contracted from sitting on contaminated toilet seats. But, once again, it's unlikely, because these small creatures (also known as pubic lice) feed on human blood, lay their eggs on hair follicles, and would rather jump from one warm body to another. They can survive 24 hours without feeding, however, so may live for a short time on a toilet seat until they find their next host.

All Experts

Sure, they say these are only theoretical ways someone could get a STD but, the possibility is still out there and the toilet seat doesn’t seem quite as safe as the “experts” would lead us to believe.

Then, when you look at the REST of the restroom, things start to get really scary. The experts seem to disagree on which is the MOST germiest part of the public restroom but, it seems the sink area and the floors are in a dead heat for that title.


Other hot zones in public bathrooms include sinks, faucet handles, and towel dispensers. Picture someone emerging from a bathroom stall, and turning on the faucet with dirty hands, and you'll know why faucet handles are a potentially troublesome surface. Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson found that sinks are the greatest reservoir of germ colonies in restrooms, thanks in part to accumulations of water that become breeding grounds for tiny organisms.

Medicine Net


"Usually, actually the floor is the dirtiest, as you might guess," said Gerba.

The floor test revealed about 2 million bacteria per square inch. Gerba says that's about 200 times higher than a sanitary surface.

"This is pretty bad," said Gerba. "We consider that a fail. So you don't want to walk around barefoot in ABC News toilets."

Not surprisingly, the sanitary napkin disposal unit also failed the test and rated as the spot with the most germs in our ladies' room.

And ladies, never put your bags on the floor.

"We found fecal bacteria on about 30 percent of the bottom of women's purses. So you may be moving bacteria from the bottom of the restroom floor to maybe the kitchen sink area when you're going to make lunch," said Gerba.

ABC 20/20

It seems that maybe the toilet seat, while a possible source of germs and STDs, may be one of the LEAST worrisome parts of the public restroom experience. Germs seem to thrive on the floors, near the sinks, and even on the door handles and paper towel dispensers. Once you leave the toilet, you move into a whole new world of germs waiting to infect you. And if you think that is bad, check this out;


Germs in feces can be propelled into the air when the toilet is flushed. For that reason, Philip Tierno, MD, director of clinical microbiology and diagnostic immunology at New York University Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Medical Center, advises leaving the stall immediately after flushing to keep the microscopic, airborne mist from choosing you as a landing site. "The greatest aerosol dispersal occurs not during the initial moments of the flush, but rather once most of the water has already left the bowl," he says.

Medicine Net

Aerosolized fecal matter thrown up from the toilet every time it’s flushed!



Forget about worrying about it landing on you, what about the possibility that you could end up BREATHING that stuff in! Makes you want to run for the hills without even bothering to wash your hands on the way out.

That would be a mistake however. Hand washing and basic sanitation measures are some of our greatest defenses when it comes to protecting ourselves from the dangers of the public restroom. In fact, restroom supplier Kimberly Clarke has a site advising people of the safest way to use the public restroom. Basic hand washing and avoiding touching germy surfaces are among some of their suggestions but, perhaps one of their best suggestions is the last:


Tell management about poorly maintained restrooms. Unless you're traveling in a part of the world where toilet hygiene isn't exactly number one priority, these days most companies or local authorities responsible for managing public restroom facilities want to be told when their toilets are in disarray. Complaints from consumers do matter and the more, the better. If you don't get a response or the standard doesn't lift, contact your local health department and lodge a complaint.

Wikihow

Maybe the best course of action would be to wear a gas mask while using the public restroom. People might laugh at you but, you’ll get the last laugh when they end up breathing in all that aerosolized fecal matter and wonder why they ended up getting sick.




posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:34 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


Those pictures look like they are from a third world country....but in modern civilizations it is safe to use public restrooms as long as you put toilet paper on the seat



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:38 PM
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Poop is everywhere and it always will be....
Got a toothbrush in your bathroom? got poop on it.
Bought a sandwich...got poop on it.
Kissed a love one.....got poop on it.
It is everywhere no point being afraid of the poop



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:39 PM
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(glances over to notice the clock..and dinner time in my area) You could put a warning as the first line, op? lol..

Great thread though. It gives something to think about. I think I've seen that second picture a few times in person at different little truck stops over the years. (fights down urge to be ill)

The pictures may have distracted me a bit so I could have missed it? I didn't see mention of the most dangerous surface in a public restroom though? The interior door handle.
1/3rd or more don't was their hands by studies that really track such things. So, I figure anything one sees inside was touched by someone and there's a 1:3 chance that someone touched the door handle on their way out before washing. All that time spent hand washing....for nothing when you open the door to leave.


I can't help but think of something else by your pictures...there has been a major trend over the last years and particularly in the Southwest U.S.. I don't know why...except perhaps foreign culture and how radically different health attitudes are between places. However...what is with the waste cans INSIDE the stalls for the Men's room, used for dirty toilet paper? It was a weird disgusting thing the first few places I saw it..then I starting seeing dozens and then, over a couple years, ALL OVER?

Thanks for some... memorable images though! lol...



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:42 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


Listen, no offense but did you do all that??? You did didn't you??? OHHH GNARLY DUDE!!!! How could you?



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:43 PM
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Originally posted by r2d246
reply to post by FortAnthem
 


Listen, no offense but did you do all that??? You did didn't you??? OHHH GNARLY DUDE!!!! How could you?


What can I say; Mexican food doesn't always agree with me.




posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:46 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


S&F for complete and total originality.....


Now, next time you do a *public service* thread like this...please have barf bags and latex gloves, on hand in the OP ....

Des




edit on 27-10-2012 by Destinyone because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:47 PM
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How does one crap on that exactly? Looks like one would need a bar stool ( pun intended ) just to get high enough to squat over that mountain of poo
edit on 27/10/12 by freedomSlave because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:49 PM
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reply to post by freedomSlave
 


Maybe they got the small people to poo 1st then the taller people went last?



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:51 PM
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reply to post by boymonkey74
 


lmfao
edit on 27/10/12 by freedomSlave because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:51 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


My biggest fear in public restrooms is that there won't be enough toilet paper. I am more afraid of getting germs from the shopping cart handles than toilet seats. How many people's snot or slobber are on the shopping cart handles anyway? At least they clean the toilets!



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:51 PM
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Originally posted by boymonkey74
reply to post by freedomSlave
 


Maybe they got the small people to poo 1st then the taller people went last?


I'm so glad I'm only 5ft tall...that means I get to use it when it's still clean.....

Good luck all you tall people...


Des



edit on 27-10-2012 by Destinyone because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:52 PM
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Originally posted by Skywatcher2011
reply to post by FortAnthem
 


Those pictures look like they are from a third world country....but in modern civilizations it is safe to use public restrooms as long as you put toilet paper on the seat


I've actually seen quite a few gas station restrooms that look like the first pic. The second pic, not so much.

It does remind me of a time at my work when I closed some restrooms until I could get the parts to fix a broken shut-off valve. Apparently, it was the women's preferred restroom (there are 6 others to choose from in my building) and they walked right passed the "restroom closed" sign and did their business with the water shut off so they couldn't flush them.

Apparently, quite a few women did this and all six stalls were full, almost to the brim, with poo. These are women in an office building mind you with another restroom right across the hall that was open for business.

I guess people don't like to have their routines disturbed, no matter how disgusting it gets.



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:52 PM
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Originally posted by Destinyone

Originally posted by boymonkey74
reply to post by freedomSlave
 


Maybe they got the small people to poo 1st then the taller people went last?


I'm so glad I'm only 5ft tall...that means I get to use it when it's still clean.....


Good luck all you tall people...

Des


what about midgets ... Get Back to the middle of the line ... Nice try



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 05:59 PM
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Originally posted by freedomSlave

Originally posted by Destinyone

Originally posted by boymonkey74
reply to post by freedomSlave
 


Maybe they got the small people to poo 1st then the taller people went last?


I'm so glad I'm only 5ft tall...that means I get to use it when it's still clean.....


Good luck all you tall people...

Des


what about midgets ... Get Back to the middle of the line ... Nice try


You're one of those tall people...aren't you......


Des



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 06:19 PM
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Or maybe




posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 06:44 PM
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Dude


Those pictures freaked me out! The one with the excrement piled a foot high? If I had the choice between that and s***ing my pants, I would have to think about.

How do you even start cleaning that? Napalm? Tactical Nuke? Bury the entire building under 10 feet of concrete?



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 06:47 PM
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I'm not sure I would worry much about STD's and I am a bonified germophobe. I'm more worried about staph and mrsa infections. We all know mens public bathrooms are exactly pictured by the OP. People pick their noses and wipe it on the wall. I've seen it numerous times.

What lives in the nose? Staph is very common in the nose. And said person that picked his nose....touched the toilet, the paper roll, the stall door, etc. right after spitting marbles and logs and wiping.

Well OP, thanx for a disgustingly good thread. Star. No flag though, I have to go throw up after seeing those pictures. ;-)



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 06:49 PM
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This is is a disturbing thread. The pics in the original post fall under the "a little too much info" clause. Just saying.

However, I have found that the condition of the public rest-rooms in any given location is be very good indicator of the nature of the community in question.



posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 04:31 PM
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reply to post by TheXoor
 


Yeah, I guess I did go just a tiny LITTLE bit overboard with the pics in the OP there.



Then again, it would have been hard to get the point across with pics of a well maintained, clean restroom. Pretty boring too.

I'll bet that, even if that's not what most people experience in the public restroom, its at least what they picture in their mind's eye when they walk in there.





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