Science Finally Addresses Health-Related Risks Of Reading On The John
Via The Guardian:
There are some questions that plague humanity. How did we get here? Is there life after death? What exactly is a Kardashian? And perhaps the greatest question of all: Are there any health hazards related to reading while using the toilet?
Thanks to Ron Shaoul of Bnai Zion Medical Centre in Haifa, Israel, we finally have some answers.
Now look, I know this subject is a little delicate. But this is reality. Face it. Anyway, this isn't an uncommon topic of discussion in the writing world. Henry Miller said Ulysses can't be appreciated outside of a lavatory. That is a true thing that I didn't make up!
So, let's just get down to it.
Shaoul, who specializes in pediatric gastroenterology, was driven by a lack of research, and his own curiosity to undertake a study that collected questionnaires from 499 men and women, aged 18 to over 65, about their bathroom reading habits. The respondents came from all walks of life, from rural villages to cities, united by one of the few commons bonds shared across humanity: The need to use the facilities.
The results were shocking.
Okay, that's not true. The results are sort of benign. But still interesting! I mean, we haven't cured cancer yet, but now we know that, according to Shaoul's research, people who read while using the toilet consider themselves to be less constipated--even though the data doesn't show much of a difference from non-toilet readers. There's also a chance that toilet-readers may suffer more from hemorrhoids (uh, what?), though that's not really conclusive (whew).
As an added bonus, Val Curtis, director of the Hygiene Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is bringing a little more knowledge to the toilet-reading party. Namely, what about... microbial contamination?
Curtis said microbes don't do well on absorbent surfaces, and would probably only survive a few minutes on newspaper. Plastic book covers, and the plastic surfaces of eReaders, are a different story. Microbes can live on those for hours.
The solution: Don't read eBooks. Also, wash your hands with soap and water. Which, if you weren't doing that already, you have problems I can't help you with.
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