The New Yorker’s recent cover story on bathtub owners and the growing popularity of plastic baths is a welcome development in an industry that has long struggled to maintain its image as a safe, functional alternative to conventional fixtures.
The magazine reported that “the American public is beginning to see the wonders of this new luxury, as the vast majority of people no longer rely on traditional bathtubes or the need to buy them separately from other furniture and furnishings.”
The cover also noted that “more Americans are buying bathtubb bathtub accessories, and a growing number of bathtub manufacturers have been working to capitalize on the trend.”
That may be a positive development, but the magazine also offered a caveat that the “tubes may not always be safe to use, especially if they contain contaminants, bacteria, or other toxic substances.”
In the United States, the average American uses about 70,000 tubs a year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that up to one in five Americans are diagnosed with a condition known as “bacterial vaginosis.”
The Associated Press reported that the number of people diagnosed with the condition has grown since 2010, and as of last year, more than 50 percent of all people diagnosed in the United State with it were male.
The AP noted that the condition, which can be diagnosed by a doctor’s examination, is “particularly common among people of color.”
In response to the issue, the National Bacteria Control Alliance has launched a campaign called “Bathtub Protections,” urging people to make their bathtuba fixtures “safe, reliable, and affordable.”
“We believe the new article will give consumers the confidence to make the choice to buy a tub instead of buying a tub-style fixture,” the group wrote in a statement.
“We have no doubt that the article will inspire many more bathtub owners to opt for a tub over a fixture, because there is no safe alternative to tubs.”
The organization noted that tubs can be purchased in a wide variety of colors and materials, and that the industry has “made strides in reducing mold, dirt, and waterborne bacteria.”
In recent years, the American Bacteria control Alliance has also helped develop a “bathsurfing” campaign that encourages people to wear rubber masks during water sports and “sit in the tub” during a swim.