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Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: June 16, 2020 09:26PM
In case you've had too much good news today, this should balance things out.

Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles
[phys.org]

Researchers used a computer simulation to show how a flushing toilet can create a cloud of virus-containing aerosol droplets that is large and widespread and lasts long enough that the droplets could be breathed in by others.

With recent studies showing the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can survive in the human digestive tract and show up in feces of the infected, this raises the possibility the disease could be transmitted with the use of toilets.

Toilet flushing creates a great deal of turbulence, and qualitative evidence suggests this can spread both bacteria and viruses. The public, however, remains largely unaware of this infection pathway, since few quantitative studies have been carried out to investigate this possible mechanism.

In the journal Physics of Fluids, precise computer models were used to simulate water and air flows in a flushing toilet and the resulting droplet cloud. The investigators used a standard set of fluid dynamic formulas, known as the Navier-Stokes equations, to simulate flushing in two types of toilet—one with a single inlet for flushing water, and another with two inlets to create a rotating flow.

The investigators also used a discrete phase model to simulate movement of the numerous tiny droplets likely to be ejected from the toilet bowl into the air. A similar model was used recently to simulate the movement of aerosol droplets ejected during a human cough.

The results of the simulations were striking.

As water pours into the toilet bowl from one side, it strikes the opposite side, creating vortices. These vortices continue upward into the air above the bowl, carrying droplets to a height of nearly 3 feet, where they might be inhaled or settle onto surfaces. These droplets are so small they float in the air for over a minute. A toilet with two inlet ports for water generates an even greater velocity of upward flowing aerosol particles.

"One can foresee that the velocity will be even higher when a toilet is used frequently, such as in the case of a family toilet during a busy time or a public toilet serving a densely populated area," said co-author Ji-Xiang Wang, of Yangzhou University.

The simulations show that nearly 60% of the ejected particles rise high above the seat for a toilet with two inlet ports. A solution to this deadly problem is to simply close the lid before flushing, since this should decrease aerosol spread.

However, in many countries, including the United States, toilets in public restrooms are often without lids. This poses a serious hazard. The investigators also suggest a better toilet design would include a lid that closes automatically before flushing.
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Speedy
Date: June 16, 2020 10:16PM
Old news.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: June 16, 2020 10:17PM
Quote
Speedy
Old news.

new study
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Speedy
Date: June 16, 2020 10:19PM
Quote
Steve G.
Quote
Speedy
Old news.

new study

True.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Acer
Date: June 16, 2020 10:40PM
I prefer blissful ignorance when it comes to aerosolized toilet particles of any sort.
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: steve...
Date: June 16, 2020 10:48PM
.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2020 10:50PM by steve....
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: $tevie
Date: June 17, 2020 12:37AM
You should never flush with your toilet seat up, even when there's no pandemic. It's disgusting what flies up and out and over your toothbrushes.



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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: June 17, 2020 07:10AM
Quote
$tevie
You should never flush with your toilet seat up, even when there's no pandemic...

I never see toilets with lids in public bathrooms.



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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: June 17, 2020 11:10AM
Quote
Sarcany
Quote
$tevie
You should never flush with your toilet seat up, even when there's no pandemic...

I never see toilets with lids in public bathrooms.

That's the problem...if you're positive the other people at home are already exposed to you in many different ways other than the bathroom, but outside the home there's no lid to close on the toilets!
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Acer
Date: June 17, 2020 12:08PM
Easy solution for public toilets. For added pleasure, leave in place for the next person.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/2020 12:39PM by Acer.
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: deckeda
Date: June 17, 2020 12:38PM
So, the droplets are lighter than air (nearly) and get accelerated (pushed out) from air movement? I’m aware that air dryers are now understood to be less sanitary than paper towels for public restrooms, simply because they blow everything around everywhere. Your hands may be safer but everything else isn’t.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/2020 12:38PM by deckeda.
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: Acer
Date: June 17, 2020 12:40PM
Quote
deckeda
So, the droplets are lighter than air (nearly) and get accelerated (pushed out) from air movement? I’m aware that air dryers are now understood to be less sanitary than paper towels for public restrooms, simply because they blow everything around everywhere. Your hands may be safer but everything else isn’t.

I'm more concerned for my hearing for those newest jet-powered models than I am a virus. I prefer to shake dry.
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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: $tevie
Date: June 17, 2020 01:01PM
Quote
Sarcany
Quote
$tevie
You should never flush with your toilet seat up, even when there's no pandemic...

I never see toilets with lids in public bathrooms.
True, but on the other hand my personal health and hygiene products are not there.



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Re: Flushing toilets create clouds of virus-containing particles lasting long enough to be breathed by others
Posted by: sekker
Date: June 17, 2020 02:01PM
Wear a mask in any public restroom.

In general, restrooms are the top concerns about colleges and universities opening up.
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