“Both the toilet and urinal generated large quantities of droplets smaller than 3 micrometers in size, posing a significant transmission risk if they contain infectious microorganisms. Due to their small size, these droplets can remain suspended for a long time.”
Results show droplets reached heights of up to five feet for at least 20 seconds after flushing. Even when researchers closed the lid, the number of particles escaping only dropped slightly. The FAU team suggests aerosols likely escape through the gaps between the seat and cover.
“The significant accumulation of flush-generated aerosolized droplets over time suggests that the ventilation system was not effective in removing them from the enclosed space even though there was no perceptible lack of airflow within the restroom,” adds Masoud Jahandar Lashaki, Ph.D., from FAU’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering. “Over the long-term, these aerosols could rise up with updrafts created by the ventilation system or by people moving around in the restroom.”