Environmental health advocates have been arguing for greener cleaners in schools for years — and a new rash of health problems could just help their fight. Toilet seat dermatitis is apparently on the rise, giving kids “distinctive half-moon shaped rashes on their rear ends,” as NPR’s Shots blog puts it.
That itchy news comes courtesy of Dr. Bernard Cohen, director of pediatric dermatology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, who penned a study published in Pediactrics saying that the rashes can be caused by an allergy to harsh chemical cleaners or exotic wooden toilet seats treated with less-than-green chemicals.
How do you prevent toilet seat dermatitis? First of all, switch to greener cleaners — and get your local schools to make the switch too. Doctors also recommend swapping out wooden toilet seats with plastic ones, and using paper toilet seat covers in public restrooms.
Of course, if you’re like me, you hate those wasteful paper toilet seat covers, one-use items that never seem to be made with FSC-certified recycled content. Feel the same way? Learn to hover and enjoy a side benefit: Slightly stronger thighs. Granted, this tip may be tough for a small child to try — which makes me wonder if reusable toilet seat covers will become the next green items environmentalists start toting around. I kid — but stranger green things have happened.