Mystery mark stains seat! Blue butt print upon the tainted throne!
June 27, 2014 10:37 AM Subscribe
This morning, I was surprised to see the clear imprint of my wife's butt and thighs in a bluish tone on our white melamine toilet seat. Is the actual chemistry known here, and what should we do to avoid this in the future?
posted by anonymous to Science & Nature (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There were faint bluish marks on a bath towel as well, and this afternoon when we discussed it, she found that a device she wears under her clothing for medical reasons had a piece of tubing that had taken the color as well.
Dr. Google informed me that this specific issue is most commonly seen in pregnancy, something that is out of the question here (due to age and the reproductive system in question) but that it is also associated with a smaller set of both male and females under maddengly vague circumstances. For these folks, often cited elements include "stress", the ingestion of b-complex stress vitamins, and the use of progesterone. Less cited elements included specific drugs used to treat a variety of intestinal ailments such as Crohn's. Rather than corral all the links here, I leave them as an excercise for the reader.
There was literally no well-sourced scientific or medical information available in the search result, which I found aggravating and incredible. Clearly this is a well-documented event in some pregnancies, and yet, there appears to be no scientific research or analysis easily located. Eventually I found a vague diagnostic condition, pseudochromihydrosis, but the information presented there was of limited utility and implies a skin-based bacterial infection rather than a sweat-based chemical reaction independent of an infection.
After carefully reviewing her day for dietary changes, we found a possible culprit: two 15-oz Starbucks Double Shot energy drinks. We also note that she has recently changed to a draconian work schedule requiring her to rise at 3 am and that she has been taking b-complex vitamins.
The color on the toilet seat does not bleach out. It is a pale indigo, the color produced by the chemical interaction of iodine and starch. My operating assumption is that it's likely to actually be produced by this reaction.