Flushing can propel coronavirus infection into air

Flushing can propel coronavirus infection into air

Flushing the toilet with the lid up creates a cloud of spray that can be breathed in and may spread infection, such as coronavirus, say researchers.

Chinese scientists calculate that flushing can propel a plume of spray up and out of the toilet bowl, reaching head height and beyond.

Droplets can travel up to 91cm from ground level, according to the computer model used by the scientists from Yangzhou University. Shutting the lid would avoid this.

The work is published in the journal Physics of Fluids.

As water pours into the toilet bowl during a flush, it strikes the side, creating turbulence and droplets. The droplets are so small they typically float in the air for more than a minute, according to study author Ji-Xiang Wang and colleagues from Yangzhou University, China.

Dr Bryan Bzdek, from the Bristol Aerosol Research Centre at the University of Bristol, said although there was no clear evidence that coronavirus might spread in this way, it made sense to take precautions, BBC reported.

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