International Paruresis Association
P.O. Box 65111
Baltimore, MD 21209
For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2012
For More Information:
Steven Soifer, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Potty Wars: The Shy Bladder Strikes Back
Baltimore – In an interesting political twist to the November elections, the #2 issue (after gay marriage) between Democrats and Republicans this election year will be the “toilet wars,” according to the Daily Caller.
Says the politically correct blog: “Congratulations, people with shy bladders! You are now officially Victims, the most exalted class in American society, and will soon receive the federal protection you so richly deserve . . . It could cost U.S. employers between $2 billion and $4 billion to comply with an obscure Americans with Disabilities Act regulation meant to protect workers who are gun-shy in public restrooms” ((http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/10/thedc-morning-just-a-reminder-that-we-are-all-victims-now/).
“Absurd,” says Steven Soifer, Ph.D., CEO of the International Paruresis Association (www.paruresis.org) and Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. “We know that 57.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot, but this one is patently ridiculous,” he added with emphasis. At issue are the new U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act As Amended (ADAAA). In short, the EEOC, in a letter issued in August of 2011, has made clear that the ADAAA probably applies to people with the legitimately identified disability of paruresis, better known as shy bladder syndrome, which affects at least 7% of the U.S. population. People with this social phobia have difficulty urinating in the presence of others, thereby making it near impossible for them to give urine based drug tests on demand.
Says Soifer: “In many situations today, even a Jedi knight would find it difficult to give a urine sample under existing drug testing protocols. What is needed are alternative drug testing methods. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is at this very moment working to approve federally mandated oral fluid (saliva) drug testing guidelines” (http://ohsonline.com/articles/2011/06/13/samhsa-seeks-comments-on-oral-fluid-testing.aspx).
While public restrooms are an issue in the workplace (an IKEA survey shows that the number one reason people prefer to work at home is to avoid using the communal bathrooms - http://www.ralphmag.org/BQ/briefs.html), for the Daily Caller to suggest businesses would need to spend billions to make their bathrooms ADA compliant (http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/10/americans-with-disabilities-act-covers-bashful-bladder-syndrome-could-cost-employers-billions/) is analogous to saying that “the White House and other congressional office buildings [should] spent thousands of dollars on toilet seats” (Senator Proxmire’s most famous Golden Fleece Award -http://www.tblnet.com/archives/index.phtml?id=E5BB8295).
The International Paruresis Association is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to “to cure Paruresis (shy bladder) and improve the lives of all people affected.” The organization’s goal is simple. To paraphrase a song lyric: “All I need is a place to pee, far, far away the place must be.” Over 1500 members strong, the organization has been working with SAMHSA for over a decade to reform its workplace drug testing procedures, which discriminate against people with shy bladder syndrome, a recognized social phobia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMIV-TR) of the American Psychiatric Association.