why do public toilets have a gap in the seat

ThereБs a difference between a public toilet and the one in your house, and itБs not the smell:бtheirбseats are shaped differently. Almost all public restrooms have what are called open front toilet seats, which are shaped like the letter
u and have an opening at the front. Most private bathrooms, by contrast, have oval or round toilet seats that wrap all the way around the toilet. Why the gap? The two-prong, open-front seat is required by the plumbing codes adopted by most public authorities in the U. S. БAll water closet seats, except those within dwelling units, shall be either of the open front type or have an automatic seat cover dispenser,Б as CaliforniaБs state plumbing code reads [ ].


The requirement was first included in the in 1955, and in the Uniform Plumbing Code in 1973, according to Dan Cole, a Technical Services Manager with the (IAPMO). This is largely a matter of hygiene.


No matter what kind of junk youБre packing, u-shaped seats give you a little breathing room to avoid touching the seat with your genitals, and provide one less place for urine to splash. Open-front toilet seats are largely designed to make it, according to Lynne Simnick, the senior vice president of code development at the IAPMO. The opening is designed to Бallow women to wipe the perineal area after using the toilet without contacting the seat,Б she says.


So basically, open toilet seats are designed for front-wipers. (Clearly the ladies in question have not been lectured on. ) U-shaped seats are also cheaper, since they use. And theyБre less likely to be stolen, according to Roger Barry, the managing director of, a UK-based company that designs and manages public restrooms. Though I question why anyone would want to steal a public toilet seat, he says that theft is a major problem. БThe appearance of u-shaped seats is something that has dampened in the UK,Б he reports, mostly because public toilets are no longer fitted with toilet seats at all to combat stealing.


Indeed, we should be grateful to have any toilet seats at all in public washrooms. Well, Laurie from Edmonton, there are many unsatisfying theories out there. Perhaps men are less careful in public toilets, , some have said. The U-shaped seat might stay cleaner if the seat isn t raised. (But who doesn t raise the seat? ) Maybe guys don t want their business touching the seat away from home?


But women s restrooms have the same seats and wouldn t the same reluctance apply at home, albeit to a lesser degree? Perhaps people are ( ) afraid of catching STDs from public toilet seats. Or maybe U-shaped seats are somehow easier to clean. And then there s the theory : U-shaped seats use less material and so are cheaper to make and to clean.

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