It might be something that you miss unless it’s pointed out to you. Next time you go to a public bathroom, take a look before you sit down on the toilet seat (and remember these other public restroom etiquette tips). You won’t encounter an oval or circle, but something incomplete; a U.
This is an open-front toilet seat, and thanks to the American Standard National Plumbing Code, it’s the go-to for most public restrooms. This code was created in 1955 and further cemented by the Uniform Plumbing Code in 1973, according to Dan Cole a Technical Services Managers with the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), via Mental Floss.
In the area of California state plumbing code which pertains to water seats, the first two requirements are as follows:
“408.2 Water Closet Seats.
408.2.1 Water closet seats shall be of smooth, non-absorbent material.
408.2.2 All water closet seats, except those within dwelling units, shall be either of the open front type or have an automatic seat cover dispenser. “
This subsection of the code also clears up why you won’t encounter fur toilet seats in truck stop bathrooms. The rationale for both of these rules comes down to hygiene. With an open front, there’s less surface area that can make incidental contact with your nether regions. But what about the toilet seat covers you can use (which, incidentally, you might be using wrong)? Unfortunately, those don’t offer as much protection against germs as you think they do.
They were also designed with women in mind, according to Lynne Simick, the senior vice president of code development at IAPMO. The gap in the seat is designed to “allow women to wipe the perineal area after using the toilet without contacting the seat,” she says to Mental Floss.
Now that you know why the public toilet seat is shaped the way it is, learn which public bathroom stall is the cleanest one you can use.
[Source: Mental Floss]