Failure to make councils check school toilets ‘risks poisoning’

Whenever there’s an outbreak of norovirus or some other tummy upset that forces large numbers of students to call in sick, check the bathrooms.

Are the tools for proper handwashing – running water, soap and paper towel – actually available?

And while a report titled, A Response to School Toilets: Best Practice Guidance for Primary and Secondary Schools in Wales, may not make exciting bathroom reading, continual attention to hygiene basics consistently reduces the numbers of people barfing.

Consumer Focus Wales (CFW) made the same point today, arguing that children face an increased risk of contracting and spreading deadly bugs because councils will not be forced to check school toilet hygiene.

As part of the South Wales E.coli public inquiry, Professor Hugh Pennington recommended that every council should have a program of audits to ensure all schools have adequate toilet and handwashing facilities.

Jennie Bibbings, CFW’s senior policy advocate, said: “In the current financial climate school toilets might be a low priority but hygiene standards could suffer and the risk of illness among school children increases.

The public inquiry into the 2005 E. coli O157 outbreak in South Wales heard shocking evidence about the state of school toilets. In some of the schools in the outbreak area there was no running hot water or even soap for children to wash their hands.

Peter Clarke, Wales’ first Children’s Commissioner, had highlighted concerns about the lack of soap and toilet paper in some schools in 2004 – a year before butcher William Tudor caused the E.coli O157 outbreak.

And his successor Mr Towler again highlighted the sub-standard facilities in his third annual report last year.

“Currently I’m seeing inequality across the country with some schools having made considerable improvement while other pupils feel so strongly about it they refuse to use the toilet during the school day.”

Consumer Focus Wales said it should also include standards for staff facilities because successive food hygiene inspection reports have revealed variable performance among school canteens in the provision of hand washing facilities.”

I went to Costa Rica for Christmas and all I got was diarrhea

Not me. We’re enjoying the balmy Kansas weather and an empty college town as the rest of the country fights snow and rain.

But as reported by HotelChatter, Costa Rica’s Barcelo Tambor Beach hotel had to close after a nasty diarrhea outbreak last week.

The health ministry shut it down after 150 people reportedly sought treatment late last week at a local clinic after suffering from such symptoms as nausea, cramps and vomiting, though the hotel only reported 37 cases of the runs.

The hotel, which has a picturesque beach location on the on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Ballena Bay, isn’t allowed to accept new guests and is supposed to evacuate current hotel guests within 24 hours. However, the health ministry said it could take up to a week to do that properly.

Initially, officials thought it was food poisoning. But now the hotel is looking to see if the pool was the culprit.

Swimmers barfing, condoms clogging toilets at Commonwealth Games

The British swim squad at the Commonwealth games has been decimated by Delhi belly since arriving in India.

Rob Mancini wrote a couple of days ago about two instances; the number of sick British swimmers has now risen to 40.

The Telegraph reported that it later emerged that the Australian swimming team are testing the water quality at the aquatics complex. The problem could even stem from pigeon droppings which can swell contagious diseases. Pigeons have been nesting in the rafters since competition began here.

Whatever is causing swimmers to barf, toilets in the athletes’ village are clogged with condoms.

Plumbers sent to unblock toilets said used condoms were the problem, with an un-named health official quoted as saying 2,000 of the 8,000 free contraceptives had been used so far.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said the report was a positive, adding,

"I am not quite sure what the point is, if that is happening it shows that there is use of condoms and I think that is a very positive story, that athletes are being responsible."

Do not stand on toilets; a graphical illustration

We’ve seen a lot of toilets along the highways and byways while making the 19-hour drive from Arkansas to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including a couple of special ones in the middle of the night on Alabama back roads (it was a shortcut).

I told the woman encased in her plastic booth at a Shell station off I-75 in northern Florida that the men’s room was out of paper towel: she sneered.

But the best sign came from the toilets at the Southbank splash park and playground in Brisbane, Australia, where people apparently have a unique approach to using the facilities.

Don’t crap where you eat

Sometimes, for mental floss, I check out the blog, It Was Over When: Tales of Romantic Dead Ends. Today’s post came from Michelle.

I prepared a nice meal for my husband. He was hungry but also had to poop. So, he took his plate into the bathroom and ate it while he was pooping. To this day I cannot eat ham.

— Michelle

Aftermath: Divorce.

Dining a La Lohan

Lindsay Lohan has been making headlines lately for the whole drunk driving and defying court thing. I miss the good old “Mean Girls” days. She looked so innocent at the beginning of that movie, when the only place she felt safe eating at was in the toilet stall.

Maybe she was on to something.

"There’s more faecal bacteria in your kitchen sink than in your toilet after you flush it. People nuke their bathrooms, but not their kitchens."

The research, from the University of Arizona, also points out that the toilet is also cleaner than cutting boards in the kitchen, computer keyboards in the office and workplaces where there are children.

Ok, so maybe Lindsay did it because it was in the script and it’s not exactly a trend to follow in dining, but the point is sanitation.

Clean kitchen surfaces, use a separate cutting board for meat and wash your and your kids’ hands.

Doughnut holes or Timbits – whatever they’re called, toilets need to work

Yesterday I had to explain how doughnut holes are called Timbits in Canada.

A couple of colleagues came over to the house for a meeting, and I provided fruit and pastries, including the popular doughnut holes.

Tim Hortons, the Canadian money-making machine named after former hockey defenceman, Tim Horton, introduced the Timbit in 1976, and the term has become synonymous in the north with doughnut hole.

Whatever they’re called, they’re going to come out eventually. An Edmonton man who claims things literally went into the toilet for him after going to a south-side Tim Hortons has launched a lawsuit against the coffee shop giant.

Gerbrand Denes is suing Tim Hortons Inc. and Tim Hortons Canada Holdings for $121,000.

Denes alleges he was a paying customer at a Tim Hortons restaurant at 2133 99 St. on the evening of March 13, 2008, and had to use the washroom.

While “in the normal course of using” the facilities, Denes claims the toilet seat broke, which caused him to fall into the toilet and then onto the floor.

As a result of the fall – which he says was caused solely by the negligence of Tim Hortons – Denes alleges he sustained serious and permanent injuries.

Putt while you poop – for those who take forever

When Chapman first got a blackberry, he e-mailed me and proudly proclaimed, “I’m in the bathroom” (but not exactly like that).

Others I know spend hours on the toilet with their iPhones. Me, I just take my computer – need that full keyboard.

But for others looking to while away the time and improve their golf game, then this may be for you.

It’s the Potty Putter.

There’s also the bizarrely named, Tea Time Toilet Potty Puter, “for that person in your life that takes their time” and the “Piddle Poop n Putt – Potty Putter."


Toilet Terror

I’m a small adult and I was a small child. One day at my babysitter’s house when I was somewhere shy of five-years-old, I slipped off the seat, sank into the toilet bowl, and cried and screamed until the sitter, Mrs. Anderson, came and saved me and my soaking wet shirttail. That’s what this picture that Katie sent us made me remember. Thank you, Katie.

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