Leaky pipes and illegal drains are causing sewer pollution and identifying them is very expensive and time consuming, but tampons is cost effective, easy and takes less time.
The findings are published in Water and Environment Journal.
Study author Dave Chandler, the Sheffield graduate student realized that tampons could absorb optical brighteners, which are additives in toothpaste, detergents and other cleaners.
Study co-author David Lerner, a professor of environment engineering at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom said, “Tampons are about the only kind of cotton you can get cheaply that have no optical brighteners.”
Scientist use optical brighteners to detect sewage pollution because they glow in ultraviolet light.
Tampons absorb even very small amount of optical brighteners.
The technique was tested in 16 sewers in Sheffield. Chandler suspended the tampons in sewers for three days and then tested under ultraviolet light and nine of the tampons glowed confirming the sewage pollution.