Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Closures of public restrooms could lead to health issues

Many municipalities in Britain have been closing public toilets in the past several years, and this may lead to the potential for increased heart attacks and strokes, according to health experts. The desperation caused by having to use a restroom when none is available can raise blood pressure and lead to these issues.


To save money in public budgets, many cities in England have opted to close public restrooms. Figures from the Daily Mall show that 2 out of 5 total public toilets in England have closed in the past ten years, often leaving people unable to find a suitable place to relieve themselves.

Some cities have reduced their budgets for toilets by as much as 20 percent, which causes many of the toilets to shut down. This leads to issues with older, more vulnerable citizens as well as tourists seeking restrooms. With some cities closing as many as half of their public toilets, some officials fear that citizens won't be able to come out of their homes.

Raymond Martin of the Stroke Association said, "These cuts affect the health of the nation, with the elderly and disabled really hit hard. It's a major worry with many people feeling they are becoming prisoners in their own home. Not being able to go causes all sorts of medical problems, from raised blood pressure and bladder issues to infections."

Representatives from disability and elderly advocacy groups have petitioned the government to create an up-to-date map detailing the location and status of public restrooms in the U.K. Some cities have even gone into planning for community-funded toilets.

Other issues

Even in instances were public toilets are available, there are still other issues with anxiety and U.K. restrooms. One study from the University of London recently found that many men faced severe stress when attempting to use public urinals, notes Medical Daily.

The etiquette expected of men in the public restrooms found in bars and restaurants may be to blame. Men are expected to not make eye contact or physically touch each other, even by accident. Any breach of these rules has the potential to lead to a fight. The negative emotions brought about by these conditions left some men unable to actually use the facilities at all, according to the authors of the study.