Bidet toilet seats with warm-water tanks: residual chlorine, microbial community, and structural analyses

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Despite the reported health-related advantages of the use of warm water in bidets, there are health-related disadvantages associated with the use of these toilet seats, and the bacterial research is sparse. We conducted a survey on the hygienic conditions of 127 warm-water bidet toilet seats in restrooms on a university campus. The spray water from the toilet seats had less residual chlorine than their tap water sources. However, the total viable microbial count was below the water-quality standard for tap water. In addition, the heat of the toilet seats' warm-water tanks caused heterotrophic bacteria in the source tap water to proliferate inside the nozzle pipes and the warm-water tanks. Escherichia coli was detected on the spray nozzles of about 5% of the toilet seats, indicating that the self-cleaning mechanism of the spray nozzles was largely functioning properly. However, Pseudomonas aeruginosa was detected on about 2% of the toilet seats. P. aeruginosa was found to remain for long durations in biofilms that formed inside warm-water tanks. Infection-prevention measures aimed at P. aeruginosa should receive full consideration when managing warm-water bidet toilet seats in hospitals in order to prevent opportunistic infections in intensive care units, hematology wards, and other hospital locations.

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