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It is widely claimed across the internet that 40,000 Americans are injured every year by toilets.

A Wikipedia article mentions it:

Toilet related injuries are also surprisingly common, with some estimates ranging up to 40,000 injuries in the US every year.

but cites a dead link, and a snapshot of that link on the Internet Archive shows that it is not a credible source at all.

Are 40,000 Americans hurt every year in toilet-related injuries?

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  • Why are all the numbers conveniently 40,000? – Daniel R Hicks Dec 30 '20 at 0:47
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    And how is having a stroke on a toilet an instance of being "injured by a toilet"? – Daniel R Hicks Dec 30 '20 at 0:47
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    Note that Wikipedia says "Toilet related injuries are also surprisingly common, with some estimates ranging up to 40,000 injuries in the US every year." Which is a bit weasley... It could mean just slipping on the floor while in rush to relieve oneself, etc. The source cited is indeed full of dubious clams, e.g. "One of the most common causes of toilet injuries are young boys taking a pee and the toilet seat lands on their pecker". I mean that would have been a better question... – Fizz Dec 30 '20 at 12:48
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    @DanielRHicks: "Conveniently"? If one (legitimate or not) study made an estimate of around 40K, we would expect all the quotes to match that. Where are you getting the "stroke" claim? I am not seeing it in Wikipedia or Factspy. – Oddthinking Dec 30 '20 at 13:37
  • @Oddthinking - Repeated use of the 40K number strongly suggests that all the references are from a single source. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 30 '20 at 13:48
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According to the CDC, that number is low. They published a report in 2011 which examined 2008 data from bathroom injuries. They looked at many details, including the types of injuries, where and how they occurred, and age breakdown of the injured people. The report estimates there were about 234,000 bathroom injuries in 2008, and that of these, 54,696 were toilet-related (Table 2 in the reference).

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    And those are only the nonfatal incidents. – David Hammen Dec 30 '20 at 11:04
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    So what fraction of these are the toilet's fault? – Daniel R Hicks Dec 30 '20 at 13:54
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    @DanielRHicks Yes, those 54K injuries happened "on or near" the toilet, but were not necessarily toilet-related. 33K injuries happened from getting on/off or using the toilet. – pacoverflow Dec 30 '20 at 18:19
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    If you spend 1/3 of your life sleeping, and (IDK%) in the bathroom, is it a disproportionately dangerous place against all other injuries? – Mazura Dec 30 '20 at 21:25
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    Note that the rate per 100,000 rises rapidly over the age of 65. Having helped the elderly on and off the toilet, it makes sense. It's a place one has to regularly sit and stand around a lot of very hard objects. – Schwern Dec 31 '20 at 6:52

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