Scrubbing Backfires on Backsides

Tuesday, February 9th 2010

Hamilton, OH – February 9, 2010 – Rashes from toilet seats on the buttocks and legs of American children are a growing problem, according to a report in the January 2010 issue of Pediatrics.*

Referred to as toilet seat dermatitis, the problem was historically believed to be the result of allergies to certain types of toilet seats such as wooden seats. 

However, the report concludes that another source, cleaning chemicals and ‘harsh detergents,’ are likely causes today.

As to cleaning chemicals specifically, Dr. Bernard A. Cohen, one of the study researchers, concludes that ‘the incidence of this condition rising in North America is because of the frequent use of detergents that contain highly irritant/sensitizing [chemical] compounds in public restrooms.’

Toilet seat dermatitis nearly disappeared in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.  Although multiple reasons were cited for its resurgence, one possibility is that cleaning professionals are using more and stronger cleaning chemicals to clean restroom fixtures due to concerns about H1N1 and the ‘seasonal’ flu this time of year.

‘If using traditional cleaning methods (sprayers and cloths), make sure the chemical is diluted properly, dwell time is followed, and the solution is thoroughly wiped from the fixture,’ advises Matt Morrison, communications manager for Kaivac, Inc.

Additionally, because a study published in Medicine News Today now indicates that cleaning cloths can spread germs and bacteria as they become soiled, Morrison notes that cleaning professionals should investigate other types of cleaning systems that do not require cleaning cloths and sprayers.

‘But if cleaning cloths are used,’ he says, ‘they should be changed frequently, at least after every restroom is cleaned, just to make sure we are not making the situation worse.’

*Official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics

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