Advocacy for the Availability of Public Restrooms
We have all been in situations in public when we've either needed a restroom
and none were available or we've stood on that dreaded LONG line waiting forever
to use the female facilities while the men breezed through. How many times
have we vowed to do something about this? Now, someone is doing something.
The Public Restroom Initiative is dedicated to the needs of rectifying the lack
of available or sufficient public toilet facilities.
The entertainment industry often portrays someone hunched in urgent need of
a toilet as humorous. In reality, extreme duress is painful and can even be
harmful. Metroped's 'Public Restroom Initiative' [www.metroped.org] site
is intended as an information source for advocates working to improve the quality
of life for individuals who are constrained by a lack of public toilet facilities
-- people for whom their work, their activities, and where and how they travel
is constrained by lack of toilet accommodation. This includes everyone -- from
those with incontinence (approximately 30 million Americans), to parents with
small children, to those confined to wheelchairs, to those who are simply too
often "on the go" to "go" at home. Of particular interest
to this initiative is any public policy that acts as impediment the "restroom
Working with the support of Dr. Ingrid Nygaard, Metroped is attempting to resolve
the gap in the regulations that dictate the availability toilets in public areas.
Dr. Nygaard is a surgeon and urogynecologist at the University of Iowa. She
is the co-author of Void Where Prohibited, the book that was the genesis of
the OSHA 1995 Toilet Regulation. This regulation and the laws that require
toilets in buildings, at food establishments, and at special events protect
the health of those who need to void when away from home.
Unfortunately, these regulations do not encompass all situations or locations.
They do not account for:
The Toilet Availability Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) issued by OSHA is
powerful but OSHA's authority is limited to the work place. The goal is to
have a comparable CFR issued by an agency of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services.
- Commuter mass-transit systems with no provisions for patrons experiencing
- Municipalities where the only public restrooms are in buildings open only
during business hours
- Athletic fields without facilities [Young women in particular are loath
to play mixed league sports without at least a chemical toilet.]
For more information on the Public Restroom Initiative, click
For more information on incontinence, click here.
Created: 9/25/2002  - Donnica Moore, M.D.