Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dental Floss is Hurting Toronto's Sewage System

Hi all,

There is an almost humourous article circulating the major media outlets about floss "gumming up" the water system in Toronto. Here's the teaser quote from the Toronto Star:

... dental floss is wreaking havoc at several of Toronto's waste-water pumping stations and treatment plants. How?

The answer is simple: People are flushing it down the toilet.

Dental floss, especially newer brands, is shred-resistant, and when strands end up in waste-water, they bind with other waste, creating what one Toronto Water supervisor called a "snowball effect." Clumps are formed – one found last week was about the size of a softball – and they gum up impellers, which are part of the pumps in the city's sanitary pumping stations. Strands of floss wrap around the motors of the impellers – rotating devices that move the waste. When the motors don't have enough power to overcome the jam, they shut down.

I have to admit that I used to flush my floss, but I've now changed that practice. My new advice to patients and my own philosophy is: floss every day and throw it in the appropriate garbage system.


Hans Skariah, B.Sc., DMD
Promenade Court Dental Health Group in Mississauga
2233 Hurontario St., Mississauga, ON, Canada
(1/2 km north of the QEW in the Dome Building)
(905) 273-7100