Zap the bacteria

HOSPITAL bathrooms need no longer be breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed bathroom tiles and sanitary ware that can convert water into hydrogen peroxide, which has anti-bacterial properties. The researchers coated the tiles and sanitary ware with a thin film of titanium oxide, a substance that speeds up chemical reactions in the presence of light. Ultraviolet emissions from fluorescent lighting stimulate the photocatalytic film to convert the water into the disinfectant.

An experiment revealed that these new tiles and sanitary ware killed up to 99 per cent of bacteria in 1 hour. The bacteria included the drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which causes infection in wounds, abscesses and boils, and Escherichia coli.