Up or down? It’s a simple question which elicits passionate and heated discussions between the sexes.
She says, “Why don’t you put the seat down?”
He says, “Why don’t you put it up?”
Few scientific studies have been conducted on this matter.
In fact, there have been more studies on the economics of toilet seat placement - the most efficient way to leave the seat (considering time and energy expenditure) than have been on the potential risks to health.
If one looks solely at minimizing the aggregate costs of inconvenience, Jay Pil Choi’s economic analysis of toilet seat placement in his paper “Up or Down? A Male Economist’s Manifesto on the Toilet Seat Etiquette” provides a valuable analysis.
Choi concludes that the “selfish rule” or leaving the seat in the position it is in when you finish doing “your business” is most efficient economically.
He validates his conclusion by adding that the same principle can be applied to a car shared by many drivers that use different seat configurations, or a computer that has multiple users.
Choi says it’s most efficient to leave any of these in the configuration last used until there is a need to change it – the next user.
But this doesn’t address the health risks of leaving the toilet seat up.
The obvious one seems to be male toddlers learning to tinkle could get their junk smashed if the toilet seat accidentally falls.
Dr. Joe Philip and his colleagues of Leighton Hospital, Crewe, England described in detail in the Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons the cases of four boys between the ages of 2 and 4 who were admitted to hospitals with penis-crush injuries serious enough to require an overnight stay – not an uncommon occurrence.
The health risk of leaving the toilet seat up is much greater than that, however. And it is a risk to everyone, male and female, young and old.
Charles Gerba, a professor at the University of Arizona who specializes in environmental microbiology. published a scientific article in 1975 describing the little-known phenomenon of bacterial and viral aerosols due to toilet flushing
Gerba had found through experimentation that significant quantities of microbes floated around the bathroom for at least two hours after each flush.
Much more research has been conducted on toilet seat up versus toilet seat down – not the donut shaped one you poop through… the lid that minimizes the escaping aerosol generated by the flush.
Just remember, putting the seat down alone still allows the bacteria and virus laden aerosol to escape the toilet when you flush. The lid must be closed to minimize airborne contaminants.
How goes it in your household?
Take the poll here - Seat up or down?
The poll will close Friday, January 11 at midnight.
Your comments are welcome!
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