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Emission strength of airborne pathogens during toilet flushing.

Abstract

The flushing of toilets generates contaminated aerosols, the transmission of which may cause the spread of disease, particularly in the immunocompromised or the elderly. This study investigated the emission strength of three types of airborne bacteria, namely Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas alcaligenes, during toilet flushing in a custom-built toilet under a controlled environment. Flushing was activated by a flushometer operated at two pressure levels, 400 kPa (high pressure [HP]) and 200 kPa (low pressure [LP]), and by a water cistern tank placed 95 cm (high tank [HT]) and 46 cm (low tank [LT]) above the toilet seat. The pathogens emitted by the first flush were calculated, with the correlations between airborne pathogen emissions and droplet concentration (HP, r=0.944, P<.001; LP, r=0.803, P<.001, HT, r=0.885, P<.05) and bacterial size (HP, r=-0.919, P<.001; LP, r=-0.936, P<.001; HT, r=-0.967, P<.05) in the different conditions then tested. The emission strength in the HP condition was statistically greater than that in the LP condition, whereas the cistern tank system produced less emissions than the flushometer system, and tank height was not found to be a sensitive parameter.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

    ,

    City University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen, China.

    ,

    Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong. School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.

    School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.

    Source

    Indoor air 28:1 2018 Jan pg 73-79

    MeSH

    Aerosols
    Air Microbiology
    Toilet Facilities

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    28683156

    Citation

    TY - JOUR T1 - Emission strength of airborne pathogens during toilet flushing. AU - Lai,A C K, AU - Tan,T F, AU - Li,W S, AU - Ip,D K M, Y1 - 2017/08/14/ PY - 2016/12/28/received PY - 2017/07/01/accepted PY - 2017/7/7/pubmed PY - 2018/10/16/medline PY - 2017/7/7/entrez KW - airborne transmitted pathogens KW - emission strength KW - infectious diseases KW - size-resolved emissions KW - toilet flushing-generated water droplets KW - toilet hygiene SP - 73 EP - 79 JF - Indoor air JO - Indoor Air VL - 28 IS - 1 N2 - The flushing of toilets generates contaminated aerosols, the transmission of which may cause the spread of disease, particularly in the immunocompromised or the elderly. This study investigated the emission strength of three types of airborne bacteria, namely Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas alcaligenes, during toilet flushing in a custom-built toilet under a controlled environment. Flushing was activated by a flushometer operated at two pressure levels, 400 kPa (high pressure [HP]) and 200 kPa (low pressure [LP]), and by a water cistern tank placed 95 cm (high tank [HT]) and 46 cm (low tank [LT]) above the toilet seat. The pathogens emitted by the first flush were calculated, with the correlations between airborne pathogen emissions and droplet concentration (HP, r=0.944, P<.001; LP, r=0.803, P<.001, HT, r=0.885, P<.05) and bacterial size (HP, r=-0.919, P<.001; LP, r=-0.936, P<.001; HT, r=-0.967, P<.05) in the different conditions then tested. The emission strength in the HP condition was statistically greater than that in the LP condition, whereas the cistern tank system produced less emissions than the flushometer system, and tank height was not found to be a sensitive parameter. SN - 1600-0668 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28683156/Emission_strength_of_airborne_pathogens_during_toilet_flushing_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/ina.12406 ER -