9.3 C
Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

New loo protocols: Put a lid on it

Latest News

Mrs Elliot

It’s very unfortunate that Justine Elliot has so little confidence in herself or her party that she needs to...

Other News

Valley of Craftsmen at Mullum Farmers Market

Victoria Cosford It’s a pest and a weed, introduced from East Asia and found along most of the east coast,...

Mullum’s future water supply Q&A

In the same week public submissions were published largely against Council staff plans to decommission Mullum’s local water supply in favour of bulk supplier Rous (see page 1), Greens Council candidates are calling for a pause on the decision until after the September 14 local government elections. 

It’s Play School!

This year, your favourite Play School TV friends are stepping out of the screen and onto the stage for ‘Let’s Play Together’. Embarking on a thrilling national concert tour started this March in Victoria, they’ll be bringing a whirlwind of fun right across the nation.

Six slips sites, $5m and 42 weeks sees Bilambil – Urliup Road open

The 2022 floods saw the Tweed hinterland connection road between Bilambil and Urliup severely damaged with six slip sites....

We need to reinvent urban spaces to live in harmony with the planet 

Travel is about visiting someplace exotic, we’re told. Somewhere that looks, feels and tastes different, in a way that stirs our heart and stimulates our senses. But sit in the central business district of any global city today, and chances are it will look basically the same.

Middle East veterans

Thanks for your excellent article, Paul Bibby. Exactly the publicity and coverage we wanted. Many Middle Eastern veterans struggle to...

Research flushes out the risks of bacterial infection in toilets.

Brought to you by The Echo and Cosmos Magazine

Loo etiquette has a new standard: put the toilet lid down as well as the seat, because leaving the lid up when flushing could lead to bacterial and viral transmission.

It sounds like the wisdom of a germaphobe, but it’s one of the findings in a new global review, published in Science of the Total Environment. The review determined that leaving the loo lid open after flushing might disperse contaminated droplets up to 1.5 metres, and these particles could hang around for up to 30 minutes.

Another review, published in Frontiers in Built Environment, found that the number of particles expelled by a toilet flush is equivalent to a person talking loudly for just over six-and-a-half minutes – the true definition of a potty mouth.

But the team found no evidence of airborne coronavirus transmission in public toilets.

‘Some people have been worried about using public washrooms during the pandemic, but if you minimise your time in the bathroom, wash and dry your hands properly, and don’t use your mobile phone, eat or drink, then the risks should be low, especially if the bathroom is well maintained,’ says co-author Professor Erica Donner of the University of South Australia.

‘While there is limited evidence of COVID-19 transmission via public washrooms, they are rife with bacteria, especially those that are used frequently and not cleaned properly.’

The team also found that defective plumbing and uncovered rubbish bins could lead to a similar effect that increases the risk of a range of intestine, skin and respiratory bacterial and viral infections, especially from surfaces.

Because of this, the authors suggest shutting the lid as part of your post-toilet routine, along with rigorous handwashing and sanitisation.

‘Although there is a potential risk of aerosols spreading from toilet flushing and hand drying, we found no evidence of airborne transmission of intestinal or respiratory pathogens in public bathrooms in the literature we reviewed,’ explains Donner.

‘However, there is no doubt that thorough handwashing and effective hand drying is critical in stopping the spread of diseases.

‘As borders open up and cases increase, people can protect themselves against COVID-19 infection by continuing to practice good hygiene. This includes handwashing and sanitising, disinfecting door handles, toilet lids and other frequently touched surfaces.

‘These habits will not only lower the risk of COVID-19 infection, but also limit the risk of bacterial infections.’

The review was conducted by the University of South Australia and the Australian National University with funding from Dyson Technology Ltd.

This article was originally published on Cosmos Magazine and was written by Deborah Devis. Deborah Devis is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science (Honours) in biology and philosophy from the University of Sydney, and a PhD in plant molecular genetics from the University of Adelaide.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Articles like this “could lead to people being completely freaked out” about coulds, maybes, ifs and other “possible” transmission of germs and viruses.

    Sponsored by a vacuum and hand sanitizer, anti-germ company no less. All germs are bad, even the good ones kinda thing.

    Could you imagine these researcher’s having to visit one of our local composting toilets?

    It might trigger a Germaphobe attack that could have the potential to stop their movements in their tracts and render their sponsored research skills uselessly conflicted!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Tikkun Olam

David Heilpern's brilliant article 'Zionism, antisemitism and Israel' stands in complete contrast to former Israeli defence minister Moshe Dayan's recommendation that, 'Israel must be...

Six slips sites, $5m and 42 weeks sees Bilambil – Urliup Road open

The 2022 floods saw the Tweed hinterland connection road between Bilambil and Urliup severely damaged with six slip sites. After more than two years...

Developer may destroy up to 1.5 million indigenous artefacts in Lismore

Land and Environment Court accepts Uncle Mickey Ryan as party to the case after Lismore Council fails to defend Aboriginal cultural heritage of North Lismore Plateau.

Tyagarah – changed overnight traffic conditions

From Monday, July 22 there will be changed traffic conditions on Tyagarah Creek Bridge on the Pacific Highway at Tyagarah to carry out essential maintenance.