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Bathroom doors?

handle.jpgOk, this story is a touch old at this point, but it’s too stupid to not be worth mentioning. Two weeks ago, a committee of the Massachusetts state legislature decided to take a look at a very important bill. The Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight was spending its important time looking at a bill filed by State Representative James Valee, on behalf of one of his constituents, Douglas Flavin. And what does Flavin want?

Why, nothing more than a law requiring all public restroom doors to open outward rather than inward.

His wife says it’s a disease prevention issue, because folks could open doors with their knee or elbow, instead of with the handle. Which is absolutely idiotic - most folks wash their hands before leaving the bathroom, meaning the door handles on the inside of the bathroom doors are relatively clean. At least in comparison to the handles on the outside of the door, which are touched almost exclusively by pre-bathroom unwashed hands. And with outward-swinging doors, the only way to open the door to get into the bathroom is by touching the well-diseased handle.

Oh, yeah, and it’s also an extreme waste of the legislature’s resources and, were it to pass, an utter waste of public works. That too. But thanks for playing Mr. and Mrs. Flavin.

| Comments (13)


Just watch next time you use a public restroom. More people don't wash their hands than you'd think. It's pretty gross. Gross enough to lock yourself in your room with a can of disinfectant, screaming, "come get me now, you germy little bastards!"

Three elle is right. People don't wash their hands nearly as much as we hope. I've always hated having to touch that nasty door handle right after I've washed my own hands (and I do wash them, I swear). However, touching the door handle going into the bathroom and having to touch a germy door handle isn't as big a deal, because you're going to wash your hands soon after you enter anyway. I mean, if you're not gross and actually wash your hands. Which a lot of people don't. But anyway. That being said, it is kind of a waste of money to pass a law about it.

It's not idiotic -- Even when people DO wash their hands, they often don't use soap, so all they're doing is ensuring an even layer of bacteria is spread all over their hands.

This is silly. I don't know about men's rooms, but most women's rooms have a trash can (relatively) near the door, so all you do is use your paper towel to open the door & then throw it away.

Even when folks are nice enough to wash their hands, the damn door handle is wet on the way out.

i'd much rather touch dirty dry handle on my way in, then wash my hands and kick the door open on my way out, than to touch that slippery wet, is-that-tap-water-or-urine inside door handle.

Just piping in to also say that, sadly, many people do not wash their hands after leaving the bathroom. I had a job where our bathroom was the main bathroom, on the main floor of a hospital, and even there I'd say it was 2/3 of the time washing at best.

Also, in the words of my microbiology professor, you can assume that when in a public restroom you will touch fecal matter.

I hope that leaves you with pleasant thoughts for the day!

If it makes any of you feel any better, I recently went to a restaurant where the bathrooms have what amount to flat metal hooks on the doors. After you wash your hands, you can put your arm in the hook, pulling the door open without directly touching it.

It is apparently more sanitary. And, to have a little fun, do what I do: As soon as you open the door, keep your hands up and yell at the first person you see: "Nurse, where are my scrubs?"

Addendum: The device I mentioned is quite similar to that image you have up there. Now I feel a bit doofy.

Well with all the urine and fecal discussion, I think I now kinda regret ever posting this story in the first place. Yummers.

The best solution is for public facilities to hire a Company whose specialty is cleaning and disinfecting. www.sparkling-image.com

Last major credible stat I heard about handwashing was that 60% of men don't wash (or just rinse the tips of their fingers under cold water for 2 secs).

Not sure what the stat is on women, but from what I've seen in public bathrooms, it's probably fairly icky.

I'm a fan of "touchless" restrooms--I admit it.

waaaaay too many people don't wash their hands after the bathroom. i had an ex-boyfriend that NEVER washed his hands and unfortunately also NEVER listened to my griping about his meaty paws stinking like his sweaty nutsack. this is what makes exes into exes.

I like the European system where there IS no door leading to the main restroom area, just a curvy bit of hallway so you can't see in. I find those in malls a lot.