Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Toilet seat dermatitis on the rise

January 25, 2010

BALTIMORE — According to research by the John Hopkins Children''s Center, toilet seat dermatitis — once thought to be eradicated in developed countries — is making a comeback due to harsh cleaning chemicals and popular wooden toilet seats covered with varnishes and paints, according to a press release.

According to the release, children are susceptible to the irritation — which can cause painful and itchy skin eruptions — after repeated use of wooden toilet seats or those with harsh cleaning chemical residue.

Johns Hopkins Children''s Center investigator Bernard Cohen, M.D. said: "Toilet seat dermatitis is one of those legendary conditions described in medical textbooks and seen in underdeveloped countries, but one that younger pediatricians have not come across in their daily practice. If our small analysis is any indication of what''s happening, we need to make sure the condition is on every pediatrician''s radar."

Cohen says that toilet seats and cleaners — both at home and school — may be the culprit for irritation.

To prevent toilet seat dermatitis, Cohen recommends: Using paper toilet seat covers in public restrooms; replacing wooden toilet seats with plastic ones; cleaning toilet seats and bowls daily; and avoiding harsh cleaners containing skin irritants like phenol and formaldehyde, the story noted.

Lead Researcher Ivan Litvinov, Ph.D. said: "Some of the children in our study suffered for years before the correct diagnosis was made."

Researchers also noted that persistently irritated skin is vulnerable to bacteria and may lead to more serious infections, the story added.

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