Gunk from medieval bathrooms revealed people suffered from parasites

What could you possibly find in a toilet that’s been out of order for hundreds of years? Some ghastly things might be hiding in there, and it’s not what you might think.

There were obviously no porcelain seats or advanced plumbing in latrines 800 years ago. You went, and countless others went after you, unknowingly leaving behind evidence of what was crawling in an entire community’s guts. Think of all those TV commercials that relentlessly insist on probiotics for gut health. Probiotics might be trending, whether in pill or yogurt form, but they do help balance the intestinal microbiome—everything that lives in your guts. Scientists have now been able to find out what was lurking in the microbiomes of two cities during the 14th and 15th centuries, and it’s ugly.

Parasites thrive when you don’t have proper sanitation. The Middle Ages spawned the bubonic plague, so it has nowhere near the cleanest reputation in history. Cesspits from Jerusalem and Riga, Latvia are giving us a closer look the microbiomes of pre-industrial agricultural societies that might be able to provide insight into our own insides. While industrialization has been associated with inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies and obesity, microbial DNA in coprolites (fossilized feces) recovered from long-abandoned latrines has revealed that Medieval human microbiomes were plagued by parasites.

“Together, these findings provide a first glimpse into the rich prokaryotic and eukaryotic intestinal flora of pre-industrial agricultural populations, which may give a better context for interpreting the health of modern microbiomes,” said Kirsten Bos, a specialist in ancient bacterial DNA from the Max Planck Institute, who recently co-led a study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Gnarly things revealed themselves under the (literal) microscope. The eggs of parasitic worms were easily detected with microscopic analysis, but there were other

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Bathstore Bathrooms Review – Which?

We’ve surveyed more than 3,700 bathroom company customers to find out how Bathstore’s bathrooms compare with rival brands, such as B&Q, Soak and Victoria Plum.

To get a rounded picture of people’s experiences, we asked them about the process of buying their bathroom and what they thought of the bathroom itself. 

Overall, the top-scoring company in our survey got a customer score of 80% and the bottom just 58%. Meanwhile, the lowest-scoring bathroom got 61% and the highest a fantastic 89%.

Which? members can log in to unlock the tables below to see how Bathstore was rated as a retailer and how its bathrooms themselves fared. You can also read comments from Bathstore bathroom owners. 

If you’re not a member, you can join Which? now to gain instant access.

Bathstore went into administration in June 2019, but was rescued by Homebase. These ratings are from before Bathstore was bought out.

Bathstore retailer rated

Bathstore bathrooms rated

Visit our page on the best and worst bathroom companies page to see how Bathstore’s bathrooms compare with those from other brands.

Bathstore bathroom fixtures 

To see how other companies in our survey fared, visit our page on bathroom fixtures and fittings

Bathstore customer comments

We asked Bathstore customers to give us more details about their experiences. 

Log in or join Which? to unlock the tables above and customer comments, as well as all the ratings in this guide and the rest of the Which? website.

Bathstore bathroom suites

Click through our picture gallery below to see a range of Bathstore bathrooms across various prices and styles.

Bathstore used to have everything you might need for your bathroom – suites, flooring, heating

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Better Bathrooms Review – Which?

2019 has been a difficult year for Better Bathrooms, having gone into administration early in the year. It still trades online after being bought by Buy It Direct.

Better Bathrooms used to have a number of showrooms and trade counters, but these were all closed in early 2019. 

The company’s new owner – which also owns Furniture 123, Laptops Direct and Appliances Direct, among other brands – sells its products online with the same address.

Because of its recent difficulties, we haven’t rated Better Bathrooms this year. But read on to find out how we rated Better Bathrooms previously, as well as information on what products it sells and services it now offers.

You can find out how other bathroom companies, including Soak, Victorian Plumbing and Homebase, were rated by their customers this year on our best and worst bathroom companies page.

If you’ve bought from Better Bathrooms or another company that’s gone into administration, such as Bathstore, read our advice on what to do if a retailer goes into administration.

Better Bathrooms reviews – 2018

Which? members can log in to see how Better Bathrooms was rated in our 2018 survey of more than 3,000 bathroom customers. If you’re not a member, you can join Which? now to gain instant access. This will also unlock all other ratings and reviews in this guide and across the site.

Better Bathrooms suites

Click through our picture gallery below to see a range of Better Bathrooms bathrooms across various prices and styles.

Better Bathrooms has a wide range of bathroom suites, fittings, accessories, tiles and showers (see more below) and sells to both consumers and

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Labour announces ban on conversion therapy, plan to help provide gender-neutral bathrooms in schools

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The Labour Party has announced several policies to help New Zealanders “live free of discrimination” based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The policies include banning conversion therapy and working with schools to provide gender-neutral bathrooms.

The party’s Rainbow spokesperson Tāmati Coffey says more work needs to be done to “keep moving towards a more inclusive New Zealand”.

“We will pass a law to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is based on the misguided idea that people are wrong or broken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is fundamentally wrong,” he said.

“Conversion therapy has been linked to severe adverse mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

“It is a practice that causes harm and is out of place in the kind, inclusive and modern country we are.”

Two petitions were presented to Parliament in 2018 calling for a ban on conversion therapy. The Justice Select Committee responded at the time by saying that while there was agreement that conversion therapy was harmful, “more work needs to be done” before any decision is taken to ban it.

Labour MP Grant Robertson says it hasn’t banned the practice during its three years of governing because there wasn’t “full government support” for it.

“What we are now saying though is this will be something we will push in government and we will pass legislation,” he said.

“The kind of practices that attempt to change or suppress somebody’s sexuality are wrong and we need to make sure that we send a very clear message about that.”

Along with the ban, Labour MP Louisa Wall says the party will also

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Handyman admits hiding cameras in bathrooms of NJ homes: cops

A creepy handyman admitted to hiding cameras in bathrooms at homes in Paramus and Wayne, NJ police said.

Romeo Sanchez, 47, of West New York, was arrested on Sept. 17 on one count of invasion of privacy by Paramus police after a homeowner who hired him to install a window spotted a suspicious device in her bathroom in late August, WABC reports.

The device, which police said was inserted into a bathroom wall, was later determined to a micro camera, equipped with a memory card, the station reports.

The female homeowner saw the device plugged into an outlet inside the bathroom and knew it “didn’t belong to her,” Paramus Police Det. Mark Pinajian told CBS New York.

The victim then saw clips on the device depicting herself and her bathroom, as well as another location, Pinajian said.

Investigators proceeded to track down Sanchez, a married father, who admitted he installed the camera in the Paramus home — and claimed he planned to retrieve it when he came back to finish the job, police said.

The other location depicted on the camera was from a bathroom of a home in Wayne where Sanchez was also hired for a job, police said.

No children were present in either home and there’s no evidence that Sanchez distributed the video, CBS New York reported.

“As far as we can see, he’s not a licensed contractor,” Pinajian said. “He’s just like a handyman to do small, odds and ends jobs and he was being referred to other people. That’s how he was getting business.”

The investigation into the Wayne home is being handled by investigators there, Paramus police said. Wayne police did not return a message seeking comment about the case, reported.

Sanchez, who was facing up to one year in jail, has been

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