FEDERAL PUBLIC RESTROOM REQUIREMENTS INITIATIVE
CALL TO ACTION
** PRESS RELEASE **
November 1, 2007
American Restroom Association identifies restroom availability as key
public health issue
The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration
provides the necessary regulations to ensure that people in the work place
will not suffer the adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not available(1)
when needed. The agency mandated to protect
the public's health outside of the work place, the Department
of Health and Human Services, provides no similar regulation or
This lack of federal recognition makes it easy for:
The mission of the Department of Labor's (DOL) Occupational Safety & Health Administration
(OSHA) is to assure the safety and health of America's workers.(2)
Per its mission, OHSA recognized that a person's health is jeopardized
when they are not able to use the toilet. OSHA promulgated 29 CFR
1910.141(c)(1)(i): Toilet Facilities "...which requires
employers to provide their employees with toilet facilities so that they
will not suffer the adverse health effects that can result if toilets are
not available..." (1)
Unfortunately, the authority of the Department of Labor does extend
beyond the workplace.
The Agency that DOES have the authority to address the adverse
health effects that can result if toilets are not available is
the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
DHHS is the principal agency of
the United States Government for protecting the health of all Americans.
There appear to be no DHHS regulations or
guidance-based recognition that lack of access to restrooms is a serious
health issue. This is ironic since the DOL used research published by the National Institutes of Health,
a DHHS agency for conducting medical research, as support for their Code of Federal Regulation (A CFR is federal law that is enforceable by the Justice
Since DHHS has the mandate to protect the health of
all Americans, ARA requests that federal legislators take the necessary
action to require DHHS to address their omission of the public health
requirement for toilet facilities, at least the
degree it has been addressed by OHSA. We are NOT asking for new legislation, only that an existing
mandate be met.
HEALTH IMPACT ON OTHERS -
Health impact to others when someone voids in locations not designed for
Ex: Transit station stairwells, doorways, school room trash receptacles
Likely Agency - DHHS's Center for Disease
Control's (CDC) National
Center for Infectious Diseases
At the national level, heath codes typically
reduce cost. At the local level the scope of impact will vary.
Regulation preventing a school principal from
punishing children by not allowing them to use the restroom may actually
have a positive cost impact. When proper toilet facilities are
denied, locations not design for sanitation are utilized.
Soiled stairwells and waste paper baskets are more expensive to clean
then facilities designed for sanitation.
Building Codes require buildings to have the sufficient toilet
facilities for all legitimate occupants of a building.
Legislation that would preclude 'restrooms are for employees only' would
not require new fixtures but cleaning costs would be
increased. Most likely there will be not increase to
business overall since people away from home must go