Glowing tampons are being used in the U.K. to root out sewer issues and determine where weak points, or points of breakage exist to prevent contamination of rivers.

Glowing tampons have an interesting use, believe it or not. While tampons being flushed down a toilet might seem like just another day in the modern world, in parts of the U.K. where sewer systems are old, and struggling – the feminine product is being used to root out and find points of issue within the sewer system.

Typical methods of finding where issues exist within a sewer system take long periods of time, and are expensive, on top of that. It’s a problem that doesn’t really have a cost-effective solution.

Until now, anyway, researchers, city workers, and more have used dyes that previously worked, but ultimately were too time-consuming to use, and expensive. Now though, they’re learning that glowing tampons serve just as well. In fact, they believe they work better. The issue at hand, that researchers are really worried about is something known as grey water.

Grey water is what comes from dishwashers, or even laundry machines – after the water has been run through them – and used to clean the things that sit inside them. The problem is that the contaminants inside grey water – are starting to cause serious damage – and even causing some irreversible damage to rivers, streams, and larger bodies of water.

Ultimately, they’re a part of the problem, according to the team tackling the problem with glow-in-the-dark tampons. The team does this by dipping tampons – which are nothing more than a dry cotton absorbent apparatus – into sewage lines at different points to determine what contaminants are on it. When they do so, and then hold the tampon under UV light – it reveals what types of contaminants are inside it. At that point, regulators can back track and determine where those foul particles are coming from – or what products are emitting them at least – and then correct the problem.

As much of a preventive measure as this is, it is also about understanding what is inside the grey water that is being shed by humans. This is yet another example of humans impacting the overall waste footprint in a negative way – and now creating innovative methods to correct the problem. It’s very important to understand what exactly is coming from sewage systems – if you want to stop it.

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