Contact lenses that are purged down the commode or disposed off in sink drains contribute significantly to microplastic pollution in the seas, said scientists.
The quantity of plastic waste generated by lenses and their product packaging in the USA alone is equal to 400 million toothbrushes yearly, stated researchers.
“These are substantial contaminants,” a scientist informed press reporters.
“There are billions and billions of lenses ending up in US wastewater each year, when they should be going into solid waste, creating hazards for the environment and marine life. They add a load of at least 20,000 kgs (44,000 pounds) each year of contact lenses to various sources of water and contaminate them.”
The scientist, who has actually worn contacts the majority of his adult life as well as began the research study after wondering what took place to all those disposed off plastic lenses, computed that product packaging which is used to package the contact lenses (especially disposables) adds about 29 million pounds (13 million kgs) of polypropylene or the packaging material to the waste from contacts.
Roughly 45 million people in the United States alone wear contact lenses, which would then amount to at least 13 billion lenses worn yearly, considering that a large proportion are disposables.
A study of contact lens users “found that 15 to 20 percent of contact wearers are purging the lenses down the sink or toilet,” stated the researcher.
And what happens to those lenses?
Researchers tracked them to waste water treatment plants, where they discovered the lenses crumble but do not break down.
The plastic bits either flow out right into the sea, or enter into sewer sludge, which is typically put on land as plant food. Overflow after that brings these contaminants back to the seas.
Tiny fish and plankton can mistake microplastics for food and eat them and die or they end up on our dinner tables.
These indigestible plastics then make their way up the food chain, as well as into the human food supply as stated above.
Researchers stated they wish their research study will seem a cautioning to manufacturers of contact lenses, and motivate individuals to get rid of them correctly with various other solid waste.
The researcher said many individuals do not realize that purging contact lenses threaten the environment.
The scientific group found just how one contact lens supplier whose packaging advised people just how to take care of them appropriately.
“Do not put those lenses into wastewater. Place them into solid waste or recycle them,” the researcher claimed.