In a new study published in the journal ‘Physics of Fluids’, Chinese researchers have recently reported that flushing public restroom toilets or urinals can spew clouds of particles carrying viruses, including COVID-19.
The study found that COVID-19 particles from a flushing urinal can rise to two feet in the air in less than six seconds.
This, the researchers said, could potentially infect the unsuspecting urinal user.
The research shows public restrooms can be dangerous places for potentially becoming infected with a virus, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other studies have shown that both faeces and urine-based virus transmission is possible.
Researchers said that flushing a urinal, much like flushing a toilet, involves an interaction between gas and liquid interfaces.
“The result of the flushing causes a large spread of aerosol particles to be released from the urinal, which the researchers simulated and tracked,” they said.
They further added that simulations’ revelations were disturbing as the trajectory of the tiny particles ejected by flushing a urinal “manifests an external-spread type, with more than 57 per cent of the particles travelling away from the urinal.
Adding further they said, when men use urinals within a public restroom, these tiny particles can reach their thigh within 5.5 seconds as compared to the toilet flush, which takes 35 seconds to reach slightly higher.
They further said that particles from urinals show a more violent climbing tendency and the climbing speed is much faster than toilet flushing.
“Wearing a mask should be mandatory within public restrooms during the pandemic and anti-diffusion improvements are urgently needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the researchers said.