In a new experiment, scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder were able to visualize airborne particles, invisible to the naked eye, that are released into the air when a lidless toilet is flushed. (University of Colorado Boulder, YouTube)
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TORONTO — If you thought flushing a toilet couldn’t get more dangerous, think again.
In a new experiment using bright green lasers and camera equipment, Scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder They were able to visualize airborne particles, invisible to the naked eye, being released into the air when a lidless toilet is flushed.
While it has been known by researchers for more than 60 years that these tiny particles are released into the air when cleaning, this study, published in Scientific Reports, is the first to directly visualize this and to be able to measure how quickly the particles spread.
Here’s the worrisome part: These particles can transmit pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that can cause disease, which can be a potential hazard in public restrooms.
These tiny water droplets can carry pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Clostridium difficile, norovirus, and adenoviruses, and although many previous studies have shown that these pathogens can live in a toilet bowl for dozens of flushes, the increase in potential exposure risks may be cause for concern. .
Scientists report that in just eight seconds, particles rocket at a rocketing speed of 6.6 feet per second, reaching 4.9 feet above the toilet. Larger droplets appear to land on surfaces within seconds, while smaller droplets appear to linger in the air for minutes, the study found. or even more.
The researchers note the importance of understanding the effects of these particles in order to mitigate exposure. John Crimaldi, lead author of the study and professor of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, said in the study’s press release. “By making exciting visuals of this process, our study can play an important role in public health messaging.”
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