Some might suggest that spending time considering the implications of flushing a toilet is, well, a waste. Few stances could be less accurate. Countless studies link toilets to secondary infections. When a toilet is flushed, the toilet plume aerosol is a very real thing. It’s not foolproof but closing the lid – if there is one – before flushing certainly reduces the amount of bioaerosols released into the air. With bacteria and pathogens lurking in the bowl, a flush can be a seamless way for infection to move about.
In one of the links below, you will learn that potentially infectious aerosols may be produced in substantial quantities during flushing. Aerosolization can continue through multiple flushes to expose subsequent toilet users. Some of the aerosols desiccate to become droplet nuclei and remain adrift in the air currents. However, no studies have yet clearly demonstrated or refuted toilet plume-related disease transmission, and the significance of the risk remains largely uncharacterized.
It can reasonably be concluded that research suggests that toilet plume could play a contributory role in the transmission of infectious diseases. Additional research in multiple areas is warranted to assess the risks posed by toilet plume, especially within health care facilities. We certainly believe that better engineering as well as a better understanding of how disease moves will impact how effectively we are able to control second infections related to use of toilets.