Science Finally Addresses Health-Related Risks Of Reading On The John

Scientist studies health risks of reading while using the toilet

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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Waterhouse's picture
Waterhouse from Columbus is reading Bullet Park, John Cheever November 1, 2011 - 1:27pm

Jesus, my grandmother used to go on how I was going to get hemorrhoids from sitting on the toilet reading when I was young. I thought it was an old wive's tale. Perhaps the study above is not conclusive, but I am sure she is looking down saying, "I told you so!"

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words November 1, 2011 - 1:40pm

as long as the books have non-plasticized covers and use absorbent paper I'm good to go...

they should add library books to this study as a vector for pathogens, bookmarks and dehydrated foodstuffs (I assume, but not too closely)

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind November 1, 2011 - 2:28pm

Postpomo, I never thought about where my library book was before I checked it out.

Now I... well, I'm kind of afraid to go to the library.


Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading a lot more during the quarantine November 1, 2011 - 3:01pm

Someone said this on the Facebook, but it's true: the first thing I thought about when I read this was that episode of Seinfeld where George takes a book into a book store bathroom and they make him buy it because it's been tainted.

Daniel Donche's picture
Daniel Donche from Seattle is reading Transubstantiate, by Richard Thomas November 3, 2011 - 2:32pm

I'm not too worried about what occurs to the book during a bathroom jaunt. I'm willing to bet my cell phone has more germs on it than the book is likely to get. Plus, there are people who put poop in their mouths - not just poop electrons like would satellite themselves onto the book, but whole poops - so I think I will be fine. Maybe I have built up a tolerance for it. I also don't understand the correlation of hemorrhoids-to-reading as opposed to hemorrhoids-to-not-reading. What is being done differently? I don't recall ever getting hemorrhoids from sitting on the john for long periods of time (which I tend to do).

Waterhouse's picture
Waterhouse from Columbus is reading Bullet Park, John Cheever November 4, 2011 - 5:47am

Sitting in that position longer per visit to the bathroom than non-toilet-readers is supposed to be the factor in the whole hemorrhoid bruhaha.

johnkelin's picture
johnkelin March 30, 2017 - 12:28am

Informative stuff. Actually health is the most essential part of our life and every moment of our life is depends on it. So, we should must take care. To maintain our health, we should take fruits, its juices and desi herbs in foods as our ancestors take herbs not only in foods but also curing diseases by it. For use, the silk fibroin was extracted from the cocoon of the silk pinnacle and dissolved to a weight percent in water. The coating of the fruits takes place by a two-phase process. In the model experiment the researchers used strawberries , since these are considered particularly perishable. The strawberry is immersed in the solution several times for 10 seconds and then evaporated with water vapor in a vacuum for curing. The fruit is dipped into the silk solution three times. The silk-fibroin layer becomes thereby 27 to 35 μm thick.

BreannZhao's picture
BreannZhao October 21, 2022 - 7:06am

Science is finally getting around to addressing the health related risks of reading on the John. The American Medical Association (AMA) has released a report that shows reading for longer than two hours a day can cause eye strain and eyestrain. You need to visit here and get more new steps for Telemedicine. It's also proven to increase the potential of developing macular degeneration among readers aged 60 and older.