Comparing Two Methods of Reducing Hospital Toilet Aerosols

Seth Eisenberg

Changjie Cai

toilet, hazardous drugs, Splashblocker, plastic-backed absorbent pad, aerosol
CJON 2023, 27(2), 191-197. DOI: 10.1188/23.CJON.191-197

Background: When flushed, uncovered hospital toilets have been shown to generate aerosols potentially containing bacteria, viruses, and hazardous drugs, which can be inhaled by healthcare workers and contaminate surfaces. Guidelines recommend placing a plastic-backed absorbent pad (PBP) over the toilet, although no studies have evaluated the effectiveness of this intervention.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of using a PBP versus the Splashblocker®, a solid, reusable engineering barrier control, to reduce post-flush aerosol particles.

Methods: Aerosol measurements were taken with an optical particle counter in a bathroom testing chamber equipped with a commercial hospital toilet and flushometer valve. Three tests were performed at a height of 16 inches above the floor and 40 inches above the floor.

Findings: Both the PBP and the Splashblocker significantly reduced the number of post-flush particles by more than 99% at 16 inches above the floor and 40 inches above the floor. The results indicate that both interventions are equally beneficial in reducing aerosols after flushing a hospital toilet.

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