The Best Bidet Toilet Seats and Attachments
As Americans seek more environmentally-friendly approaches to their homes and hygiene, bidets have grown in popularity. Recent toilet paper shortages have also convinced more users to opt for a different approach. Looking to make your bathroom more sustainable? Our guide will show you everything you need to know about bidet attachments and seats for your home.
Even if you've never actually used a bidet, you probably know what they are; and if you've ever traveled to Europe or Japan, you may have encountered one. But for those who don't know, a bidet is essentially a device that uses a stream of water to help you clean instead of toilet paper. Bidets can sometimes be stand-alone devices, but in other instances they are attachments to existing toilet seats.
If you're interested in getting a bidet in your home, there are a number of standout bidet seats and attachments on the market today. We'll walk you through just a few of the most popular options, highlighting some of the best buys in the bidet space.
Our Picks for the Best Bidets of 2021
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Bidet Seat - Toto C200 Electronic Bidet
- Best Bidet Attachment - TUSHY Classic 3.0 Bidet Attachment
- Best Smart Bidet Seat - BioBidet Bliss BB-2000 Bidet Seat
- Most Customizable Seat - Omigo Luxury Bidet Toilet Seat
- Most Affordable - LUXE Bidet Neo 120 Attachment
- Best for Comfort - Brondell Swash 1400 Bidet Seat
- Best Non-Electric Bidet Seat - Kohler Puretide Manual Bidet Toilet Seat
- Best for Accessibility - Coway Bidetmega 400E Bidet Seat
How We Reviewed Bidet Seats and Attachments
To create our list of the best bidet seats and bidet attachments, we considered a few key categories for each product. For bidet seats we looked for options that included heated seats, warm water reservoirs, self-cleaning wands, multiple nozzles, customization and adjustment options, ease-of-installation, and whether they offered an eco-mode or energy saving setting. For bidet attachments we looked for options with an affordable price, self-cleaning wands, easy installation, and whether they allow users to control or adjust water pressure and nozzle settings. Additionally, we compared brand reputation and the information they offered on how much the product could help reduce toilet paper waste in the environment. You can also read our individual reviews of Tushy, Omigo, and Toto bidets.
Here are the best bidet options for you to consider.
Toto is a company that's well-established for its quality bidet products. The Toto C200 electric bidet seat comes with a number of advantages, and you can even create unique user profiles, ensuring the bidet remembers your preferences.
- Adjustable oscillating water options
- A built-in air dryer to assist you in personal hygiene.
- A self-cleaning wand automatically cleans up after each use.
Why buy: The Toto WASHLET C200 electric bidet features a deodorizer, heated seat, instant warm water reservoir, and a pre-mist cleaning function for added hygiene.
If you're looking for an attachment rather than a full toilet seat, we recommend this model from TUSHY. The TUSHY Classic 3.0 is an especially great option for bidet shoppers on a budget from an eco-conscious brand.
- It's made for easy installation, usually taking no more than 10 minutes.
- This is one of the very best bidet attachments for under $100.
- Controls let you customize nozzle placement and water pressure.
Why buy: Tushy claims their non-electric bidet attachment can reduce your toilet paper usage by 80%, saving trees and money.
The BioBidet Bliss seat offers a number of advanced features including a comfort-adjustable heated seat with a remote control, adjustable warm air drying, and a patented vortex wash.
- Adjustable water temperature, water pressure, and heated seat.
- Three-in-one stainless steel nozzle design for a complete clean and feminine wash.
- Hybrid heating technology so you always have warm water.
Why buy: This electric bidet seat from BioBidet features an Energy Save Mode to reduce electricity usage as well as toilet paper usage.
For years, Omigo has been a leading name in luxury bidets and accessories. Their flagship product boasts hundreds of rave reviews, and a long list of exciting features. Some of the perks of choosing Omigo include:
- They offer various shapes, allowing you to pick the bidet that best matches your existing toilet bowl.
- Omigo offers a heated seat with adjustable temperature.
- An LED night light makes it easy for you to use your bidet even at night.
Why buy: You can customize your bidet experience by choosing from a range of nozzle positions and adjustable spray pressure settings, and separate rear and front nozzles are available.
LUXE offers affordable bidet options with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you're looking to try out a basic bidet to see what it's like, the LUXE Neo 120 attachment may be the perfect option. One thing to note, however, is that this model is non-electric and uses cold water.
- A self-cleaning, sanitary nozzle with guard helps promote cleanliness and hygiene.
- The LUXE bidet attachment installs easily and in minutes.
- 18-month warranty and 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Why buy: This is one of the most affordable bidet options out there, and is a great way to make your bathroom more sustainable.
Brondell is another company that offers top-of-the-line bidet toilet seats. The Swash 1400 features a heated seat, air dryer, replaceable deodorizer, and programmable user settings. Brondell also offers a non-electric Ecoseat series and a travel bidet.
- Seven different nozzle positions, and an ambient night light.
- The unit can be installed in under an hour, without any need to call a plumber.
- Front and rear nozzles allow for a complete cleaning experience.
Why buy: Brondell notes that 37 gallons of water are used to make one roll of toilet paper; that same amount of water is equivalent to 150 washes with their bidet seat.
The Kohler Puretide manual bidet seat is a simple, straightforward, and affordable product. It features a self-cleaning wand with adjustable water pressure and position.
- Sleek, low-profile design that doesn't stand out.
- Manual-operated handle allows you to control water pressure without electricity.
- Quick-Attach hardware makes it easy to install in minutes.
Why buy: The Kohler Puretide is an affordable, non-electric bidet seat that makes it easy to reduce your environmental impact. It also features a very unobtrusive design.
This electronic bidet seat from Coway includes a ton of features that make it an accessible option for every member of the family. The company's unique i-wave Cleaning Technology is designed to provide a comfortable cleaning experience for every person.
- Wireless remote control with child-friendly controls and braille for visually-impaired users.
- Three-stage cleansing care system keeps the system hygienic.
- Adjustable water temperature, water pressure, direction, flow, and warm air dryer.
Why buy: Coway includes a lot of accessibility features in their bidet seats, as well as an eco-mode to reduce the energy consumption of the unit.
The Benefits of Using a Bidet
What are the top reasons for using a bidet? There are actually many benefits to consider.
One reason why people love bidets is that water bidets help you get clean in ways that toilet paper just won't. That's because we all understand that a stream of water has greater cleaning power than paper or tissue. Additionally, some bidets have air drying and self-cleaning features to make them a more sanitary option.
Better for the Environment
Another reason to use a bidet is that it's better for the environment than using toilet paper.
The U.S. accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of the world's toilet paper use. A big reason for that? We don't use bidets. But by making the switch, you can massively cut back on your own contributions to paper waste.
And while using a bidet does require you to use some water, but it's actually quite a bit less water than what's required to manufacture a single roll of toilet tissue.
Better for Your Wallet
Using a bidet can actually help you save quite a bit of money. The average bidet user reduces their annual toilet paper use by more than 75 percent, which for some families is quite a bit of money!
Plus, any time a major storm or a big snow is coming, folks head to the store to stock up on toilet paper. If you've got a bidet in your bathroom, you can skip the last-minute run to the store.
Additional Perks of a Bidet
The list of bidet benefits just goes on from there. Some additional advantages that bidet users can anticipate include:
- Bidets are comfortable and non-irritating to your skin
- Using a bidet can have particular benefits for women and expecting mothers, minimizing the risk of UTIs
- Bidets are very easy to use, including for those who have mobility issues
- By using a bidet, you will have a lower likelihood of clogged toilets and other expensive plumbing problems
- Bidets can be great for showing your kids how to use proper hygiene
Really, the list could go on and on. So with all of that said, let's move on to the next question: What should you look for in a bidet?
What to Consider When Shopping for the Best bidet
In seeking a bidet seat or attachment, keep these shopping considerations in mind.
Electric Bidet vs. Non-Electric
An electric bidet seat is generally going to offer the most consistent and comfortable performance. By contrast, a mechanical bidet simply uses your home's water pressure, which can be less reliable. With that said, a mechanical bidet will likely cost you less. If you're hoping to spend under $300 on a bidet, a mechanical one is probably your only bet.
Heated Bidet vs. Non-Heated
Concerned about the shock of cold water from a bidet? You can invest in a bidet that uses warm water with temperature control instead. Keep in mind, though, that if it takes your hot water supply a few seconds to reach the bathroom sink, it will take just as long to reach the bidet.
Find a Self-Cleaning Bidet
Some bidets include a self-cleaning nozzle that can clean themselves between each use. Others will require you to manually clean the nozzle yourself. As you might imagine, self-cleaning bidets are a little more expensive, but much more convenient and hygienic.
Attachment vs. Seat
One of the biggest decisions to make is whether you'll get a bidet attachment, or a full bidet seat. What's the difference?
- A bidet attachment simply attaches to your current toilet seat. These often work just fine, but may not look as streamlined.
- A full bidet seat will be a bit more expensive, and potentially harder to install, but ultimately it's a more compact approach.
Consider Multiple Nozzles
Many bidets will offer you a single nozzle, but some offer dual nozzles for more cleaning options. You'll pay a little bit more for the twin nozzles, but for many bidet users, that will be money well spent.
High-end electric bidets come with a range of other features. Some of these extras might include:
- Pulsating water spray and oscillation options
- Warm air dryers
- "Smart" settings and user profiles with a control panel
Buying a Bidet FAQs
Q. Are bidets messy?
No, it's actually very easy to adjust the pressure and positioning of a bidet nozzle, ensuring clean, precise use. Plus, many bidets include a self-cleaning function.
Q. What if I don't have any room in my bathroom for a bidet?
One of the great things about bidet seats and attachments is that you don't need any extra space. You can simply install one of these units onto your existing toilet.
Q. Are bidets primarily for women?
While bidets do offer special feminine hygiene benefits, they also help men remain clean and sanitary, without the need to use a bunch of toilet paper. Bidets are great for women, but they certainly aren't just for women.
Q. Should I use soap with my bidet?
No! Regularly using soap in sensitive areas can actually cause irritation. Warm water is all that's required for your bidet to offer its full, sanitary effects.
Q. Will I need a plumber to install my bidet?
All of the seats and attachments listed here are very easy to self-install and should not require you to call a plumber.
Choose the Bidet that's Right for You and the Environment
Bidets are surging in popularity as more and more people discover the hygienic and environmental benefits. There's never been a better time to try one out and enjoy the unique benefits for yourself. Use this guide to find the bidet that's right for your comfort preferences and your budget to reduce your impact on the planet.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.
Here are three new films to watch this Earth Week that will transport you from pole to pole and introduce you to the scientists and activists working to save our shared home.
Where to Watch: Apple TV+
When to Watch: From April 16
The coronavirus pandemic has brought home the stakes of humanity's impact on the environment. But the lockdowns also proved how quickly nature can recover when humans give it the space. Birds sang in empty cities, whales surfaced in Glacier Bay and capybara roamed the South American suburbs.
The Year Earth Changed captures this unique year with footage from more than 30 lockdowned cities between May 2020 to January 2021. Narrated by renowned wildlife broadcaster David Attenborough, the film explores what positive lessons we can take from the experience of a quieter, less trafficked world.
"What the film shows is that the natural world can bounce back remarkably quickly when we take a step back and reduce our impact as we did during lockdown," executive producer Alice Keens-Soper of BBC Studios Natural History Unit told EcoWatch. "If we are willing to make even small changes to our habits, the natural world can flourish. We need to learn how to co-exist with nature and understand that we are not separate from it- for example if we closed some of our beaches at for a few weeks during the turtle breeding we see that it can make a huge difference to their success. There are many ways that we can adapt our behavior to allow the natural world to thrive as it did in lockdown."
Where to Watch: San Francisco International Film Festival
In 1989, Will Steger led an international team of six scientists and explorers to be the first humans to cross Antarctica by dogsled. Steger and his team weren't just in it for the adventure. They also wanted to draw attention to the ways in which the climate crisis was already transforming the icy continent and to rally support for the renewal of the Antarctic Treaty, which would keep the continent safe from extractive industries.
In After Antarctica, award-winning filmmaker Tasha Van Zandt follows Steger 30 years later as he travels the Arctic this time, reflecting on his original journey and once again bringing awareness to changes in a polar landscape. The film intersperses this contemporary journey with footage from the original expedition, some of which has never been seen before.
"Will's life journey as an explorer and climate activist has led him not only to see more of the polar world than anyone else alive today, but to being an eyewitness to the changes occurring across both poles," Van Zandt told EcoWatch. "But now, these changes are happening in all of our own backyards and we have all become eyewitnesses. Through my journey with Will, I have learned that although we cannot always control change, we can change our response. I feel strongly that this is a message that resonates when we look at the current state of the world, as we each have power and control over how we choose to respond to hardships, and we all have the power to unite with others through collective action around a common goal."
After Antarctica is available to stream once you purchase a ticket to the San Francisco International Film Festival. If you miss it this weekend, it will screen again at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival from May 13 to May 23.
Tasha Van Zandt
Where to Watch: Virtual Cinema
While many films about the climate crisis seek to raise awareness about the extent of the problem, The Race to Save the World focuses on the people who are trying to stop it. The film tells the story of climate activists ranging from 15-year-old Aji to 72-year-old Miriam who are working to create a sustainable future. It follows them from the streets to the courtroom to their homes, and explores the impact of their advocacy on their personal lives and relationships.
Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker Joe Gantz told EcoWatch that he wanted to make a film about climate change, but did not want to depress viewers with overwhelming statistics. Instead, he chose to inspire them by sharing the stories of people trying to make a difference.
"Unless millions of people take to the streets and make their voices heard for a livable future, the politicians are not going to get on board to help make the changes needed for a sustainable future," Gantz told Ecowatch. "I think that The Race To Save The World will energize and inspire people to take action so that future generations, as well as the plants, animals and ecosystems, can survive and thrive on this planet."
Check back with EcoWatch on the morning of Earth Day for a special preview of this inspiring film!
By Michael Svoboda
For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.
The earliest Earth Days raised awareness, led to passage of new laws, and spurred conservation. But the original problems are still with us. And now they intersect with climate change, making it impossible to address one problem without affecting the others.
The 12 books listed below remind us about these defining interconnections.
The first three focus on biodiversity and on humanity's fractured relationships with the animals we live with on land.
The second trio explores the oceans and, at the same time, considers social and cultural factors that determine what we know – and don't know – about the 75% of our planet that is covered by water, perhaps the least well understood part of the climate system.
Agriculture and food security are examined by the third tranche of titles. This set includes a biography that may challenge what you think was/is possible, culturally and politically, in the American system.
Finally, there is the problem of waste, the problem of single-use plastics in particular. These three titles offer practical advice and qualified hope. Reducing litter might also reduce emissions – and vice versa.
As always, the descriptions of the works listed below are drawn from copy provided by the publishers or organizations that released them. When two dates of publication are included, the latter is for the paperback edition.
A Life on Our Planet My Witness Statement and Vision for the Future, by David Attenborough (Grand Central Publishing 2020, 272 pages, $26.00)
See the world. Then make it better. I am 93. I've had an extraordinary life. It's only now that I appreciate how extraordinary. As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world – but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been happening all around us, barely noticeable from day to day – the loss of our planet's wild places, its bio-diversity. I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet is my witness statement, and my vision for the future. It is the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake – and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right. We have one final chance to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited. All we need is the will to do so.
Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction, by Michelle Nijhuis (W.W. Norton 2021, 352 pages, $27.95)
In the late 19th century, as humans came to realize that our industrializing and globalizing societies were driving other animal species to extinction, a movement to conserve them was born. In Beloved Beasts, science journalist Michelle Nijhuis traces the movement's history. She describes the vital role of scientists and activists such as Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson; she reveals the origins of organizations like the Audubon Society and the World Wildlife Fund; she explores current efforts to protect species; and she confronts the darker side of conservation, long shadowed by racism and colonialism. As the destruction of other species continues and the effects of climate change escalate, Beloved Beasts charts the ways conservation is becoming a movement for the protection of all species – including our own.
How to Be an Animal: A New History of What It Means to Be Human, by Melanie Challenger (Penguin Random House 2021, 272 pages, $17.00 paperback)
How to Be an Animal tells a remarkable story of what it means to be human and argues that at the heart of our existence is a profound struggle with being animal. We possess a psychology that seeks separation between humanity and the rest of nature, and we have invented grand ideologies to magnify this. In her book, nature historian Melanie Challenger explores the ways this mindset affects our lives, from our politics to our environments. She examines how technology influences our relationship with our own animal nature and with the other species with whom we share this fragile planet. Blending nature writing, history, and philosophy, How to Be an Animal both reappraises what it means to be human and robustly defends what it means to be an animal.
Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean's Biggest Secret, by Jess Keating, Illustrated by Katie Hickey (Tundra Books 2020, 34 pages, $17.99)
From a young age, Marie Tharp loved watching the world. She loved solving problems. And she loved pushing the limits of what girls and women were expected to do and be. In the mid-twentieth century, women were not welcome in the sciences, but Marie was tenacious. She got a job at a laboratory in New York. But then she faced another barrier: women were not allowed on the research ships (they were considered bad luck on boats). So Marie stayed back and dove deep into the data her colleagues recorded. At first the scientific community refused to believe her, but her evidence was irrefutable. The mid-ocean ridge that Marie discovered is the single largest geographic feature on the planet, and she mapped it all from her small, cramped office.
Science on a Mission: How Military Funding Shaped What We Do and Don't Know about the Ocean, by Naomi Oreskes (University of Chicago Press 2021, 744 pages, $40.00)
What difference does it make who pays for science? After World War II, the US military turned to a new, uncharted theater of warfare: the deep sea. The earth sciences – particularly physical oceanography and marine geophysics – became essential to the US Navy, which poured unprecedented money and logistical support into their study. In Science on a Mission, historian Naomi Oreskes delves into the role of patronage in science, what emerges is a vivid portrait of how naval oversight transformed what we know about the sea. It is a detailed, sweeping history that illuminates the ways funding shapes the subject, scope, and tenor of research, and it raises profound questions about American science. What difference does it make who pays? A lot.
Dark Side of the Ocean: The Destruction of Our Seas, Why It Matters, and What We Can Do About It, by Albert Bates (Groundswell Books 2020, 158 pages, $12.95 paperback)
Our oceans face levels of devastation previously unknown in human history due to pollution, overfishing, and damage to delicate aquatic ecosystems affected by global warming. Climate author Albert Bates explains how ocean life maintains adequate oxygen levels, prevents erosion from storms, and sustains a vital food source that factory-fishing operations cannot match. Bates also profiles organizations dedicated to changing the human impact on marine reserves, improving ocean permaculture, and putting the brakes on heat waves that destroy sea life and imperil human habitation at the ocean's edge. The Dark Side of the Ocean conveys a deep appreciation for the fragile nature of the ocean's majesty and compels us to act now to preserve it.
The Planter of Modern Life: Louis Bromfield and the Seeds of a Food Revolution, by Stephen Heyman (W.W. Norton 2020, 352 pages, $26.95)
Louis Bromfield was a World War I ambulance driver, a Paris expat, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist as famous in the 1920s as Hemingway. But he cashed in his literary success to finance a wild agrarian dream in his native Ohio. There, in 1938, Bromfield transformed 600 badly eroded acres into a thriving cooperative farm, which became a mecca for agricultural pioneers and a country retreat for celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. This sweeping biography unearths a lost icon of American culture. While Bromfield's name has faded into obscurity, his mission seems more critical today than ever before. The ideas he planted at his utopian experimental farm, Malabar, would inspire America's first generation of organic farmers and popularize the tenets of environmentalism years before Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.
Food Fights: How History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates, edited by Charles C. Ludington and Matthew Morse Booker (University of North Carolina Press 2019, 304 pages, $32.95 paperback)
What we eat, where it is from, and how it is produced are vital questions in today's America. We think seriously about food because it is freighted with the hopes, fears, and anxieties of modern life. Yet critiques of food and food systems all too often sprawl into jeremiads against modernity itself, while supporters of the status quo refuse to acknowledge the problems with today's methods of food production and distribution. Food Fights sheds new light on these crucial debates, using a historical lens. Its essays take strong positions, even arguing with one another, as they explore the many themes and tensions that define how we understand our food – from the promises and failures of agricultural technology to the politics of taste.
Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need, by Michael P. Hoffmann, Carrie Koplinka-Loehr, and Danielle L. Eiseman (Comstock Publishing Associates 2021, 264 pages, $21.95 paperback)
Our Changing Menu unpacks the increasingly complex relationships between food and climate change. In it, Michael Hoffmann, Carrie Koplinka-Loehr, and Danielle Eiseman offer an eye-opening journey through a complete menu of before-dinner drinks and salads; main courses and sides; and coffee and dessert. Along the way, they examine the escalating changes occurring to the flavors of spices and teas, the yields of wheat, the vitamins in rice, and the price of vanilla. Their story ends with a primer on the global food system, the causes and impacts of climate change, and what we can do. Our Changing Menu is a celebration of food and a call to all – from the common ground of food – to help tackle the greatest challenge of our time.
Plastic Free: The Inspiring Story of a Global Environmental Movement and Why It Matters, by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and Joanna Atherhold Finn (Columbia University Press 2020, 272 pages, $28.00)
In July 2011, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz challenged herself and some friends to go plastic free for the whole month. Since then, the Plastic Free July movement has grown from a small group of people in the city of Perth into a 250-million strong community across 177 countries. Plastic Free tells the story of this world-leading environmental campaign. From narrating marine-debris research expeditions to tracking what actually happens to our waste to sharing insights from behavioral research, Plastic Free speaks to the massive scale of the plastic waste problem and how we can tackle it together. Interweaving interviews from participants, activists, and experts, it tells the inspiring story of how ordinary people have created change in their homes, communities, workplaces, schools, businesses, and beyond. Plastic Fee offers hope for the future.
Can I Recycle This? A Guide to Better Recycling and How to Reduce Single Use Plastics, by Jennie Romer (Penguin Books 2021, 272 pages, $22.00)
Since the dawn of the recycling system, men and women the world over have stood by their bins, holding an everyday object, wondering, "Can I recycle this?" This simple question links our concerns for the environment with how we interact with our local governments. Recycling rules seem to differ in every municipality, leaving average Americans scratching their heads at the simple act of throwing something away. Taking readers on an informative tour of how recycling actually works (setting aside the propaganda we were all taught as kids), Can I Recycle This gives straightforward answers to whether dozens of common household objects can be recycled. And it provides the information you need to make that decision for anything else you encounter.
Zero Waste Living: The 80/20 Way: The Busy Person's Guide to a Lighter Footprint, by Stephanie J. Miller (Changemaker Books 2020, 112 pages, $10.95 paperback)
Many of us feel powerless to solve the looming climate and waste crises. We have too much on our plates, and so may think these problems are better solved by governments and businesses. This book unlocks the potential in each "too busy" individual to be a crucial part of the solution. Stephanie Miller combines her climate-focused career with her own research and personal experience to show how relatively easy lifestyle changes can create significant positive impacts. Using the simplicity of the 80/20 rule, she shows us those things (the 20%) that we can do to make the biggest (80%) difference in reversing the climate and waste crises. Her book empowers busy individuals to do the easy things that have a real impact on the climate and waste crises.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.
The report, from the People's Collective for Environmental Justice (PCEJ) and students from the University of Redlands, shared with The Guardian, is meant to serve as an "advocacy tool to help raise awareness related to the warehouse industry's impacts on Southern California's air pollution issues," Earthjustice noted.
California's Inland Empire, 60 miles east of Los Angeles, has emerged as one of the largest "warehousing hubs" in the world in just the past few decades, according to Grist. Since establishing its first warehouse in the region in 2012, Amazon has become the largest private employer in the region, where 40,000 people now work in Amazon warehouses, picking, packing, sorting and unloading, as well as driving trucks and operating aircrafts, The New York Times Magazine reported.
"The company is so enmeshed in the community that it can simultaneously be a TV channel, grocery store, home security system, boss, personal data collector, high school career track, internet cloud provider and personal assistant," The New York Times Magazine added.
In just the last year, Amazon has tripled its delivery hubs in the region due to the demand for online shopping during the COVID-19 crisis. But despite the economic boom, heavy air pollution mainly from trucks going in and out of the warehouses infects nearby communities, the new research showed, according to The Guardian.
The research found, for example, that the populations living within a half-mile of the warehouses are 85 percent people of color, while California's overall population is 64 percent people of color, The Guardian reported. The research also found that communities with the most Amazon warehouses nearby have the lowest rates of Amazon sales per household.
"Amazon has boomed in 2020 and tripled the amount of money it's making, and it is happening at a cost to the folks who live in these communities," Ivette Torres, a PCEJ environmental science researcher and analyst, who helped put the research together, told The Guardian.
The research also demonstrated that the top 10 communities with the most warehouses in the region also experience pollution from other facilities, like gas plants and oil refineries, Earthjustice wrote in a statement.
"The Inland Empire, probably more than any region in the United States, has disproportionately [borne] the brunt of the environmental and economic impact of goods movement, and Amazon is driving that now in the Inland Empire," Jake Wilson, a California State University, Long Beach, professor of sociology, told Grist.
Last year, the San Bernardino International Airport Authority ratified a decision to allow an air cargo facility development at the airport, allowing Amazon to operate more flights out of the region, Grist reported.
Among the local residents to oppose the decision was Jorge Osvaldo Heredia, a resident of San Bernadino in Southern California since 2005. "This whole region has been taken over by warehouses," Heredia told Grist, and commented on the "horrible" air quality in the city on most days. "It's really reaching that apex point where you can't avoid the warehouses, you can't avoid the trucks," he added.
Advocates who published the research are pushing on the South Coast Air Quality Management District, a local air pollution regulatory agency, to move forward with the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule, which would require new and existing warehouses to take action to reduce emissions locally each year, The Guardian reported. Some solutions include moving towards zero-emissions trucks and mitigation fees.
"Last year, we saw some of the worst air quality, with wildfires adding to it, and the trucks were still in and out of our communities. So this is a huge change that we need right now, and that we actually needed yesterday," Torres concluded, according to The Guardian.
Scientists at the University of Purdue have developed the whitest and coolest paint on record.
Painting buildings white to help cool down cities has long been touted as a climate solution. However, the white paints currently on the market reflect only 80 to 90 percent of sunlight and cannot actually cool a roof to below air temperature, The Guardian reported. However, this new paint can.
"Our paint can help fight against global warming by helping to cool the Earth – that's the cool point," University of Purdue Professor Xiulin Ruan told The Guardian. "Producing the whitest white means the paint can reflect the maximum amount of sunlight back to space."
The new paint, introduced in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces on Thursday, can reflect up to 98.1 percent of sunlight and cool surfaces by 4.5 degrees Celsius. This means it could be an effective replacement for air conditioning.
"If you were to use this paint to cover a roof area of about 1,000 square feet, we estimate that you could get a cooling power of 10 kilowatts. That's more powerful than the central air conditioners used by most houses," Ruan said in a University of Purdue press release.
The new paint improves upon a previous paint by the same research team that reflected 95.5 percent of sunlight. Researchers say it is likely the closest counterpart to the blackest black, "Vantablack," which can absorb as much as 99.9 percent of visible light. The new paint is so white for two main reasons: It uses a high concentration of a reflective chemical compound called barium sulfate, and the barium sulfate particles are all different sizes, meaning they scatter different parts of the light spectrum.
White paint is already being used to combat the climate crisis. New York has painted more than 10 million square feet of rooftops white, BBC News reported. Project Drawdown calculated that white or plant-covered roofs could sequester between 0.6 and 1.1 gigatons of carbon between 2020 and 2050. The researchers hope their paint will enhance these efforts.
"We did a very rough calculation," Ruan told BBC News. "And we estimate we would only need to paint one percent of the Earth's surface with this paint — perhaps an area where no people live that is covered in rocks — and that could help fight the climate change trend."
The research team has filed a patent for the paint and hope it will be on the market within two years, according to The Guardian. However, Andrew Parnell, who develops sustainable coatings at the University of Sheffield, said it would be important to calculate the emissions produced from mining barium sulphate and compare those with the emissions saved from using the paint instead of air conditioning.
"The principle is very exciting and the science [in the new study] is good. But I think there might be logistical problems that are not trivial," Parnell told The Guardian. "How many million tons [of barium sulphate] would you need?"
Parnell thought green roofs, or roofs on which plants grow, might prove to be a more ecologically friendly alternative.
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Less than three years after California governor Jerry Brown said the state would launch "our own damn satellite" to track pollution in the face of the Trump administration's climate denial, California, NASA, and a constellation of private companies, nonprofits, and foundations are teaming up to do just that.
Under the umbrella of the newly-formed group Carbon Mapper, two satellites are on track to launch in 2023. The satellites will target, among other pollution, methane emissions from oil and gas and agriculture operations that account for a disproportionate amount of pollution.
Between 2016 and 2018, using airplane-based instruments, scientists found 600 "super-emitters" (accounting for less than 0.5% of California's infrastructure) were to blame for more than one-third of the state's methane pollution. Now, the satellite-based systems will be able to perform similar monitoring, continuously and globally, and be able to attribute pollution to its source with previously impossible precision.
"These sort of methane emissions are kind of like invisible wildfires across the landscape," Carbon Mapper CEO and University of Arizona research scientist Riley Duren said. "No one can see them or smell them, and yet they're incredibly damaging, not just to the local environment, but more importantly, globally."
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