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For 20 seconds or longer after starting the flush, droplets were observed at heights of up to 5 feet. Pixabay

Respiratory droplets are the most prominent source of transmission for Covid-19. However, flushing a toilet can generate large quantities of microbe-containing aerosols depending on the design, water pressure, or flushing power of the toilet at public restrooms, an Indian-origin researchers-led study has warned.

Public restrooms are especially caused for concern for transmitting Covid-19 because they are relatively confined, experience heavy foot traffic, and may not have adequate ventilation.


According to researchers, a variety of pathogens are usually found in stagnant water as well as in urine, feces, and vomit.

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“After about three hours of tests involving more than 100 flushes, we found a substantial increase in the measured aerosol levels in the ambient environment with the total number of droplets generated in each flushing test ranging up to the tens of thousands,” said Siddhartha Verma, co-author and an Assistant Professor in Florida Atlantic University’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering in the US.


The majority of public toilets lack toilet seat lids and urinals are not covered. Pixabay

The droplets were detected at heights of up to 5 feet for 20 seconds or longer after initiating the flush.

Researchers detected a smaller number of droplets in the air when the toilet was flushed with a closed lid, although not by much, suggesting that aerosolized droplets escaped through small gaps between the cover and the seat.

“Both the toilet and urinal generated large quantities of droplets smaller than 3 micrometers in size, posing a significant transmission risk if they contain infectious microorganisms. Due to their small size, these droplets can remain suspended for a long time,” Verma said.

When dispersed widely through aerosolization, these pathogens can cause Ebola, norovirus that results in violent food poisoning, as well as Covid-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2, according to a team of scientists from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering.

The team once again put the physics of fluids to the test to investigate droplets generated from flushing a toilet and a urinal in a public restroom under normal ventilation conditions.


In stagnant water, as well as urine, faeces, and vomit, a variety of pathogens can be found. Pixabay

To measure the droplets, they used a particle counter placed at various heights of the toilet and urinal to capture the size and number of droplets generated upon flushing.

Results of the study, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, demonstrate how public restrooms could serve as hotbeds for airborne disease transmission, especially if they do not have adequate ventilation or if toilets do not have a lid or cover.

ALSO READ: New All-In-One Covid-19 Test Developed In Saudi Arabia

Most public restrooms often are not equipped with toilet seat lids and urinals are not covered.

There was a 69.5 percent increase in measured levels for particles sized 0.3 to 0.5 micrometers, a 209 percent increase for particles sized 0.5 to 1 micrometer, and a 50 percent increase for particles sized 1 to 3 micrometers.

“The study suggests that incorporation of adequate ventilation in the design and operation of public spaces would help prevent aerosol accumulation in high occupancy areas such as public restrooms,” said Manhar Dhanak, chair of FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, and professor and director of SeaTech. (IANS/KB)


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IANS

The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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