Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The toilet plume

I’ve been telling people about this for over ten years, but nobody listens to me. When you flush the toilet, a plume/flume of about 750,000 germs get sprayed into the air in an invisible, aerosolized spray, and they land on every surface in the bathroom.

“One hundred years ago, infectious disease was the leading cause of death. By 1980, it had fallen to number 5, but about 10 years ago, it managed to climb its way up to number 3. And, according to Professor Charles P. Gerba of the University of Arizona Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, it’ll most likely find its way back to the number 1 spot...”

Put the seat down. Cover your toothbrush or put it in the cabinet (or both). Don’t leave your drinking cup on the bathroom counter. Wipe down all surfaces in your bathroom regularly with disinfectant.

“Gerba has made quite a name for himself by studying public toilets and other places where germs lurk. In 1975, Gerba published a scientific article describing the phenomenon of bacterial and viral aerosols due to toilet flushing. When this aerosol of contaminated water is ejected into the air, it lands on everything in the bathroom, including your toothbrush. According to Gerba, this isn’t just another scare tactic to get men to put the top down...”

Read this article [Edit: Old link went 404. Read this Straight Dope column]. It might make you feel a little ill, but it also might prevent you from getting sick.

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