These Disgusting Findings Will Ensure You Never Set Foot In A Public Toilet Again

Consider this a public service announcement.

Cover image via Patrick Campbell/CU Boulder & Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

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Okay, we all know public toilets are disgusting, but these recent findings on the impact of flushing will make you never want to use them again, let alone enter one

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder used green lasers and camera equipment to reveal how tiny particles of toilet water (and its contents) are rapidly ejected into the air when a toilet is flushed, in order to measure the speed and spread of these particles within a confined space, such as a public restroom.

According to the study, the particles from toilet bowls can reach 1.5m above the toilet within eight seconds.

The water particles also shot upward and backward toward the rear wall. Larger droplets settled quickly onto surfaces, while smaller particles wafted to the ceiling, remaining suspended in the air before eventually being redirected from the wall and spreading into the room.

According to John Crimaldi, lead author on the study and professor of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering at the university, solid waste in the bowl, the presence of stalls, and the movement of people were variables that could exacerbate the spread of these particles in public toilets.

Image via New Girl/GIPHY

Horrifyingly, pathogens from other toilet users can persist in the bowl for dozens of flushes, resulting in a miasma of yours and others' waste particles on the toilet walls and the surrounding air

These plumes have the potential to transport E. coli, C. difficile, noroviruses, adenoviruses, and other pathogens present in human waste.

On top of this, you could be breathing in this delightful cocktail of human waste, as smaller particles not only float in the air for longer, but can pass through nose hairs and reach your lungs — pure horror.

"The goal of the toilet is to effectively remove waste from the bowl, but it's also doing the opposite, which is spraying a lot of contents upwards," said Crimaldi.

"If it's something you can't see, it's easy to pretend it doesn't exist. But once you see these videos, you're never going to think about a toilet flush the same way again," he added.

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