The explosion of aerosol droplets captured on camera shows how particles spread with the lid up
A series of alarming photos have captured what really happens when a toilet is flushed with the seat lid still up.
Harpic, the chemical company, used high-speed specialist cameras to capture the ‘firework’ display of aerosol particles spewed into the air after flushing the toilet.
The impressive visuals give a growing movement to encourage people to put the lid down before flushing. A July study found coronavirus particles can be sprayed in a cloud of up to three-foot-high by a single flush which can produce thousands of tiny aerosol droplets that can fly onto surfaces and even into the faces of those in the bathroom.
A survey of 2,000 Britons found 55% of UK adults don’t close the lid when flushing the toilet, despite almost three-quarters (72%) saying they are more aware of hygiene than ever before.
Toilet bowl water remains contaminated for several flushes after becoming exposed to harmful pathogens.
The coronavirus is hardy and can even survive a trip through the digestive system, so much that it is often still present in feces weeks after symptoms have stopped.
A research and development associate at Harpic said: “There has never been a more important time to take extra care around our homes, although the risks associated with germ spread in unhygienic bathrooms are high, the solution to keeping them clean is simple”.
“As experts in hygiene, Harpic are on hand to help everyone stay safe at home”.
“We hope our new #CloseTheLid campaign helps inspire people to make simple changes to their cleaning routine that can have long-lasting benefits to the health of the nation”.
Some of the particles produced by a flushing toilet are capable of reaching the lower respiratory tract, which can lead to infection.
If a person touches a surface contaminated by the toilet bowl flush, they can then become infected when they touch the nose or mouth.
When asked why they do not close the lid when flushing the toilet, the top reasons from respondents include being unaware of the risks (47%), feeling afraid to touch the lid (24%), and general forgetfulness (15%).
However, almost all of the 2,000 respondents (95%) admitted they will start to close the lid after being made aware of the risks. Moreover, the research commissioned by Harpic revealed Brits are already taking important steps in ramping up their cleaning efforts.
Cleaning the toilet bowl (49%), deep cleaning the bathroom more frequently (45%), and mopping the floor (44%) are the top things the nation has started doing more of over the last 6 months.
A study published in June in the Lancet identified virus particles in the excrement of COVID-19 patients nearly 5 weeks after the patients tested negative. These particles were still viable and could cause fecal-oral transmission of the coronavirus, the researchers warned.
Despite this, the general public is less aware of this potential route of transmission even if coronavirus is not the sole risk.