Bathrooms without borders

Massachusetts lawmaker James Valle, Democrat, has filed legislation that would require all new public bathrooms built in the State to have doors that open outward without doorknobs.

Valle was quoted as telling ABC News, "It makes pretty good sense. You go into a men’s or lady’s room, you clean yourself up, you wash your hands, and then you have to touch a doorknob that everyone else who just used the bathroom touched. It could be seen as paranoia, but it makes perfect sense to me."
Valle is carrying the legislation on behalf of a friend and fellow member of the Massachusetts National Gaurd, Douglas Flavin, who brought up his sanitary "pet peeve" during weekend training together.

Flavin was quoted as saying in an interview that, "You wash your hand and you’ve got to grab the knob that some guy just had his pissy hand all over. It’s been annoying me for some time."

Valle said the law, if signed by the governor’s pen, would not require existing bathrooms to retrofit their doors to remove doorknobs and re-hang the doors — a grandfather clause that might stave off opposition from the building unions. "Maybe the the doorknob lobby, but not the builders," he said.

Bathroom innovations can be seen in many places, from the all-in-one handwashing units frequently found in Kansas and Missouri (and have serious problems)

to the retractable toilet seat in a woman’s washroom in a Marseille, France restaurant.

Visit for an inventory of handwashing materials.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time