Friday, August 19, 2016

Toilets are the New Smoking, Some Doctors Say Maybe?

Sinks, paper towel dispensers, hand dryers, latching stall doors, and flushing toilets are ubiquitous in bathrooms across the United States. There are varying degrees of technology, such as hands-free faucets or those Japanese toilets that analyze stool for vitamin deficiencies, but our bathrooms have many more similarities than differences. One important similarity is our American sedentary personal hygiene culture, and studies are showing that all that sitting on the toilet may be hazardous to our health.

An example of the sedentary toileting style popular in the United States

Whether at home, at work, or masturbating at the local library, American adults are spending a lot of time on toilets, and some experts say it's taking its toll on our bodies. The Ye Olde Nebraskian recently interviewed Dr. Mort Fishman, director of the Center for Research and Studies in Belvidere, Nebraska and inventor of the standing and treadmill toilets. Fishman has spent the better part of three decades investigating the consequences of an increasingly sedentary approach to toileting on our health and has come up with and extremely simple explanation:

"Seated toileting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than Ebola, and is riskier than wrestling a shark on his birthday. We are quite literally shitting ourselves to death."

Fishman was the first medical researcher to compare seated toilet time with smoking, but he's not alone in his fight to change the way we defecate. Piles of research has been published revealing that prolonged sitting on the toilet increases the risk of developing various cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. "In regions of the world where these luxury diseases are almost unheard of, invariably these are cultures that spend very little time sitting on flush toilets. There are many conditions not even described in the academic literature until after their invention."

Still, there are many unanswered questions. Is there any acceptable amount of seated toilet time? Can these detrimental health effects be counteracted by increased exercise or by making the switch to a standing toilet later in life? Does maternal sedentary toileting cause autism? Is breastfeeding protective?

Until the science is clear, experts near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are recommending that we keep seated toilet time to the exact amount necessary. Fishman recommends that anyone using a conventional seated flush toilet should remove all reading material from the bathroom and install a system that administers an electric shock after a predetermined amount of time has passed. But he has an even better solution: cultural evolution. "Why are we relying on the use of what is essentially a 16th century technology? We have astronauts crapping in space for Christ's sake. Stand up for your health!"

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