There is a risk that an infectious aerosol is produced when toilets are flushed. One way of addressing this would be to add a disinfectant to the toilet before flushing. But would this be safe and effective?
A charming study evaluated the risk of aerosolisation of Clostridium difficle spores through toilet flushing and the potential for resulting environmental contamination. Sure enough, using a faecal suspension to simulate diarrhea caused by C. difficile, investigators found that air and surfaces surrounding the toilet were contaminated with C. difficile spores when the toilet was flushed with the lid up. So, the advice is to close the lid when you flush the toilet to avoid aersolisation spread of gastrointestinal pathogens. One added complication though: many hospital toilets do not have lids, so the authors concluded by discouraging the use of lidless toilets.
Article citation: Best EL, Sandoe JA, Wilcox MH. Potential for aerosolization of Clostridium difficile after flushing toilets: the role of toilet lids in reducing environmental contamination risk. J Hosp Infect 2012; 80: 1-5.