Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Place bidets in every restroom for all these beneficial reasons

(Egao No Genki)
Joe Koehle
COMM 325: TU 1430-1545
December 2012
Final Paper: The Case that Adopts the Bidet-Attachment
                Did you know that Japan and France have a longer life expectancy than the United States of America? There are reasons why their citizens live longer than we do. A big reason is habits pertaining to health. There is a critical fixture that the French and Japanese people have a lot of that we do not. It is called the bidet, and if adopted in more areas of the world, and especially the United States, then we shall help save more forests by using water and consequently cutting down on paper. The bidet is a device that is the following: A low, knee-high sink that is next to the toilet (i.e. the “French Type”), or attached to the toilet bowl under the toilet seat, or depending on the model, doubles as a toilet seat. The appliance is a hygiene tool that cleans the user’s nether-regions. Depending on the sophistication, it may deliver varying temperatures of water to the user’s specifications, give a pulsating massage for a greater, more comforting effect, provide enema washes for a more thorough inside out cleansing, or even dry the user afterwards. Water is far more recyclable than toilet paper, and can quite easily become treated and purified back into normal water again, whereas toilet paper cannot turn back into trees.
                The truck-mudding analogy:
The following may come as a shock to most Americans, but we know about the Midwestern pastime of “mudding” in a 4x4 vehicle out in the boonies. It may be fun while it lasts, but eventually comes a time when the participants have to clean the truck or SUV. Do they wash the mud away with a hose, or attempt to wipe it off with a towel. Of course, they would use a hose, because clearly and invariably the results would trump the towel. There would still be mud left after wiping with a dry towel whereas using a hose would bring the truck much closer to showroom condition again.
Broaching particular necessities, the mothers of inventions:
                Just as the use of a hose on a muddied truck procures better results than dry wiping with a towel, why must we keep using toilet paper when water is clearly the more effective cleansing method? It is because we are ingrained into the old ways and the “fear of the unknown” comes into play when it comes to new methods of restroom hygiene. What matters as well is the social difficulty of broaching and describing the subject matter of the issue.  Some inventions are easy to converse over, consequently causing quicker, widespread adoption. It was okay to talk about the benefit of cars vs. horses in Henry Ford’s time, which partly explains the quicker and popular transition to the horseless carriage. On the other hand, some inventions are harder sells because the subject matter is not as easy to converse about. Talking about the cleanliness of our nether-regions is a generally taboo and hard topic to broach, which is a significant reason for how we have been slower to adopt paperless toilets / hygienic washing fixtures.
                Health benefits for anyone:
                Health benefits would abound. Some special lighting would immediately show how clean our skin is, but unfortunately, are not everywhere. If they were a normal part of lighting on everyday light fixtures, we would be far better aware of how clean we are and remake our habits accordingly. Moreover, there would be a stark difference shown on our hands if we went to and came out of the restroom. True, it is common sense to wash hands afterwards, but not everyone remembers. Many more would with such hygiene lights. On the other “hand,” if wiping only happened after using the bidet, and only to dry (if the model did not have an in-built dryer), there would be far less to see under a “hygiene inspection light.” Moreover, this new practice would improve the health of millions of new users. The rate of workplace productivity loss would decline significantly, and the life expectancy would rise because some bacterial infections from normal or careless use of the toilet could sometimes lead to death, especially for those with weak immune systems. This is not just unique to the adoption of washlets / bidet-attachments, but to any improvement of health habits and/or advances in medical and hygienic science, of which the bidet would be no exception.
                Space in restrooms:
                For those with space to spare in the restroom, and who prefer some extra French elegance, the French-style bidet (a very low sink) would come in handy. However, the user would have to walk over from the toilet. Moreover, bidet usage guides suggest dry-wiping first before using the bidet to wash off. But one would sit on the bidet like a pony (in fact, the word “bidet” originates from an archaic word for “pony,”) either facing toward or away from the faucet for the cleansing to take place.
                For places that are short on restroom space, the type that attaches on top of the toilet bowl would be ideal, like in many public spaces. If public restrooms started having them, this would cause a sudden “eye-opening” to how much potential the users have been missing all their lives in terms of the level of hygiene they could ever hope to achieve. To make sure the first-time users know what they are doing from the get-go, directions on how to use them would be posted on a wall next to the toilet, as well as the benefits gained from using said bidet.
                Of course, there would be detractors, who would only not need to turn the bidet-functions on and use the toilet like an ordinary toilet, though it would not be a recommended move for the sake of their health. Detractors may tell us to clean the rest of of our behinds in the shower. However, especially if more than one person uses the shower, would you want to step on what others leave behind? Moreover, even if the toilet bowl were flushed clean, would you ever want to stick your foot in it? This is why the use of a bidet will always trump “taking care of the rest” in a shower. Detractors may also say that washing with a bidet would waste water. Turns out, the water being “wasted” is easily recyclable once treated at a treatment plant, and less would be used in the time that it would take for an average person to use up an entire roll of toilet paper. At the factory, it takes many (about 37) gallons of water and the use of various chemicals to make just one roll of toilet paper, not to mention that there come less tress to replace carbon dioxide with oxygen so in reality, the use of a bidet-attachment would let the user come out ahead environmentally.
                Health benefits for users with physical / health disadvantages:
                The health benefits for those with physical disadvantages would be astounding. Hemorrhoids would make the sufferer thereof feel with toilet paper like how normal users feel with sandpaper. That is why bidets would be essential to anyone living with hemorrhoids. When the hemorrhoid sufferer can adjust the temperature, pressure, arc, etc., they can feel far better and more satisfied about their restroom experience, and cleaner and more confident than ever before.
                This is even more reason why clinics and hospitals everywhere must have the bidet fixtures. Not only would they mitigate the effect of hospitals and clinics being the hotbeds for disease, but patients who would have a hard time using the restroom independently otherwise would have an easier, more pleasant and dignified use thereof. Especially true for patients with varying types of paralysis or injuries, it would be far easier for them to get clean just by operating a few buttons for the wash sequences than it would be for them to clean themselves the old-fashioned way. For the old-fashioned way, in some cases, a nurse / attendant may have to take care of it for them, which is an indignity not generally experienced amongst normal people since toddlerhood. Many would shudder at the thought, which is why in such circumstances when the patient is injured or incapacitated enough to compromise ordinary bathroom independence, the bidet-attachment would be a welcome method to restore said independence to such patients.
                Cost issues:
                Detractors might cite the issue of cost as a reason not to get those bidet-attachments. True, some models are expensive, ranging from several hundred dollars to the Kohler Numi, the most sophisticated electronic toilet model, whose starting price was over $6,000. Typically, however, expensive bidet-seat models require an electric power supply to plug into. Lower-priced models will not. There are non-electric budget models that only give the basic spray, without water temperature control, that cost under $50, all the way up to premium non-electric models that will also give temperature control, enema washes, directional wash, and even squirt liquid soap, which would cost upwards of $200. The BioBidet brand has a well-rounded set of models from widely varying price ranges, including those that would fit a typical college student’s budget, so such a health-saving device would be within reach of the common working-class man, woman and child after all.
                Students who study abroad to Japan can get astounded by what they see and realize. Even though the United States has been very good at importing a myriad of Japanese goods, we remain behind in their Washlet technology. As mentioned before, it is likely because some inventions are just harder to converse about than others, so when there are touchy subject-matters behind the pitch of a new product, said product would be a tougher sell.
                This paper was tasked with making a case for a change in society that may be most effective when taken by governmental, educational and other large, versatile entities. Medical entities such as a group of hospitals, medical associations, etc. would be most interested in the idea of installing bidet-attachments in their restrooms since they all would want a cleaner operating environment and better health of anyone using their facilities and services; bidets would provide that ticket to better health and cleanliness. If this happens, educational and governmental entities would be sure to follow as their colleagues in the medical field would spread the good news about the new hygiene devices of the 21st century, then the rest would take care of itself: The general population would soon learn from them about the benefits.
                Even though Japan’s Toto Ltd. invented the “Washlet” in 1980, most of America and numerous parts of the world are 32 years behind. It would likely be a shock to introduce a Washlet-like device much like how someone from a backward country in 1912 would feel if they traveled to the United States and saw horseless carriages for the first time in their lives. However, technology will not stop its march of progress; there will eventually come a time when everyone receives the hygiene upgrade they need.
Works Cited (Chicago Style):
1.       Span, Paula. "Begin the Bidet - NYTimes.com." Caring for Aging Parents - The New Old Age Blog - NYTimes.com. Last modified March 27, 2012. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/begin-the-bidet/
2.       Hickman, Matt. "Is installing a bidet in my new home the right eco-thing to do or is it totally unnecessary? | MNN - Mother Nature Network." Environmental News and Information | MNN - Mother Nature Network. Last modified September 27, 2010. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://www.mnn.com/your-home/remodeling-design/questions/is-installing-a-bidet-in-my-new-home-the-right-eco-thing-to-do
3.       Unknown, Author. "Why aren't we all using Japanese Toilets?." priceonomics. Last modified November 14, 2012. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://priceonomics.com/toilets/
4.       Rooks, Matthew. "The Washlet: Once You Go Tech, You Never Go Back." GeekWeek. Last modified March 18, 2010. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://www.geekweek.com/2010/03/the-washlet-once-you-go-tech-you-never-go-back.html
5.       Unknown, Author. "The Benefit and Savings of Washlets." FixturesClearance.com. Last modified October 3, 2012. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://blog.fixturesclearance.com/benefit-washlets/
6.       Unknown, Author. "The Hygiene Inspection Black Light Tells You The Truth About The Cleanliness, Hygiene, Image And Efficiency Of Your Organization. « Total Supply Solutions Blog." Cleaning Chemicals | Cleaning Products | Toilet Supplies - Total Supply Solutions. Last modified February 19, 2010. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://www.totalsupplysolutions.com.au/blog/2010/02/the-hygiene-inspection-light-tells-you-the-truth-about-the-cleanliness-hygiene-image-and-efficiency-of-your-organization/
7.       J, Cohen-Mansfield, and Biddison JR. "The potential of wash-and-dry toilets to impro... [Gerontologist. 2005] - PubMed - NCBI." National Center for Biotechnology Information. Last modified October, 2005. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16199405
8.       Chou, Amy. "The Health Benefits of the Bidet Toilet Seat | MyPRGenie." Turn Buzz into Leads | Press Release Distribution, Global Media Database with Miranda Tan and MyPRGenie. Last modified December 3, 2012. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://www.myprgenie.com/view-publication/the-health-benefits-of-the-bidet-toilet-seat
9.       K, Michael. "Bidet Facts | Why Bidets| Safety Features." Bidets | Bidet Buying Guide | Bidet User Reviews | Expert Product Reviews. Last modified 2010. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://www.bidetratings.com/bidet-facts
10.   Bloch, Michael. "Bidet vs. toilet paper – which is more environmentally friendly? | Green Living Tips." Green living tips - a more eco friendly existence. Last modified November 3, 2010. Accessed December 10, 2012. http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/toilet-paper-vs-bidet.html

1 comment:

  1. "The truck-mudding analogy": I really thought this was an effective analogy, especially for those of us from the midwest. We would never clean off a truck with paper towels; we would use a hose.

    "Talking about the cleanliness of our nether-regions is a generally taboo and hard topic to broach": Is there any other reason besides the taboo that we have not adopted the bidet?

    "True, it is common sense to wash hands afterwards, but not everyone remembers": Gross, but true!

    I like the idea of more independence for hospital patients.

    Usually the United States is considered to be on the cutting-edge of technological innovations, so it is fascinating to see the U.S. so far behind in a beneficial technological aspect.

    Thanks for sharing!