Eye-opening study: Many people flush old contact lenses away

20 August, 2018, 20:22 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Millions of tonnes of plastic are being dumped in the ocean

His team had already been working on plastic pollution research, and it was a startling wake-up call when they couldn't find studies on what happens to contact lenses after use.

"This is a pretty large number, considering roughly 45 million people in the USA alone wear contact lenses", said Charles Rolsky, a PhD student who is working with Halden and a third member of the ASU team, Varun Kelkar.

The American Chemical Society research presented Sunday in Boston found 20 percent of 400 contact lens users flush old contact lenses down the toilet or in the sink. And because wastewater industry reports suggest about 55 percent of that waste is dumped into soils, the researchers estimate that 11,000 to 12,650 kilograms (about 24,000 to 28,000 pounds) of contaminant-harboring contact lens fragments end up in US dirt annually.

Researchers in the U.S. have been investigating the final journeys taken by disposable contact lenses. Alternatively, Bausch & Lomb offers a recycling program for any brand of contact lenses and packaging.

And there were small changes in the bonds of the plastic polymers after exposure to the microbes.

And those lenses later end up contributing to pollution in oceans, lakes and rivers.

Analyzing what happens to these lenses is a challenge for several reasons.


Earlier research on the individual waste from an average person's disposable contact lenses in the United Kingdom looked more broadly at the environmental footprint of contacts and compared it to waste from soda cans, suggesting that the lens-related waste is relatively small, per person-roughly equivalent to the disposal of 15 cans of Coca Cola per year.

"From past studies, we know that microplastics are able to absorb contaminants at a much higher level than what's found in the surrounding environment", Charlie Rolsky, a postdoctoral student involved in the study, told Time.

As they are denser than water they sink and endanger aquatic life, especially bottom feeders that may ingest them, explained Dr Halden. Further, the plastics used in contact lenses are different from other plastic waste, such as polypropylene, which can be found in everything from vehicle batteries to textiles.

Wastewater treatment facilities in the US simply don't do a good enough job of filtering out the tons of contact lenses that are disposed of through the sewer system, according to new research presented Sunday at the American Chemical Society's meeting in Boston.

The researchers also tested how lenses fared when treated with microorganisms that are used at wastewater treatment facilities to break down biological waste. These animals are part of a long food chain. Second, the unusual plastics used in contact lenses - a combination of poly (methylmethacrylate), silicones and fluoropolymers to create a soft material that allows oxygen to pass through the lens to the eye - are not routinely screened for environmental monitoring studies.

Dr Halden added: 'Ultimately, we hope manufacturers will conduct more research on how the lenses impact aquatic life and how fast the lenses degrade in a marine environment'.

The researchers broke the study into three core parts.

Recommended:

  • Warren: Winner of Fury-Wilder would be No. 1

    Warren: Winner of Fury-Wilder would be No. 1

    Pianeta is a decent fighter - he's 6ft 5in and has been in the ring 40 times, only losing four, so Fury will need to be focused . Judge me on that comment - a heavyweight Sugar Ray Leonard'. "I can't be any fitter than I was when I fought Sefer".
    Ronaldo, Modric, Salah on UEFA player of the year shortlist

    Ronaldo, Modric, Salah on UEFA player of the year shortlist

    Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is on the three-man shortlist for UEFA's 2017-18 Men's Player of the Year award. Last season, Salah had 10 goals in 13 UCL caps and 32 goals in 36 Premier League appearances for Liverpool .
    Winona Ryder Reveals She & Keanu Reeves Might Be Married!

    Winona Ryder Reveals She & Keanu Reeves Might Be Married!

    According to Winona , 46, she and Keanu , 53, may have tied the knot way back in 1992 while filming their movie Dracula . Destination Wedding will launch in the U.S. on August 31, but a release date for Australia has not been set.
  • Saudi Investment Fund Eyes Tesla Rival

    Saudi Investment Fund Eyes Tesla Rival

    The news is combining to extend the trauma of last week, when Tesla shares slumped 14%, the steepest drop since February 2016. But features some consumers may want in an automobile aren't necessarily sustainable in an automobile executive.
    Drive-by shooting at United States  embassy in Turkish capital, no casualties

    Drive-by shooting at United States embassy in Turkish capital, no casualties

    A police officer told Reuters at the scene the drive-by shooting occurred around 5 am (0200 GMT) and that nobody was hurt. Brunson has been imprisoned since 2016 in Turkey over terrorism and espionage charges that the US calls baseless.
    One victor , one loser as Fulham face defeat against Tottenham

    One victor , one loser as Fulham face defeat against Tottenham

    You don't want to get off to a start of played two, lost two because you're behind the eight ball straight away. Cardiff was unable to capitalize on the advantage and it was Newcastle who pressed late on.
  • Chelsea, Manchester United 'monitoring Aaron Ramsey situation'

    Chelsea, Manchester United 'monitoring Aaron Ramsey situation'

    The Sun claim that Arsenal began negotiations with the Welshman a year ago though as yet no progress has been made. Arsenal are confident Aaron Ramsey will sign a new contract despite big-money offers from overseas .
    Unstoppable Winx goes pass Black Caviar with 26th consecutive win

    Unstoppable Winx goes pass Black Caviar with 26th consecutive win

    Before her hot incredible hot streak, Winx had won four of her first 10 starts, which means she's sitting on 29 career wins. But after dealing with Kementari , the Hugh Bowman-ridden mare swept home to the roars of a packed crowd along the rail.
    Short sentence recommended for former Trump campaign adviser

    Short sentence recommended for former Trump campaign adviser

    The professor allegedly told Papadopoulos that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails". Thirty-two people have been charged by Mueller's office since it took over the investigation in May 2017.
  • Move over, Sister Jean. There’s a new nun in Chicago sports

    Move over, Sister Jean. There’s a new nun in Chicago sports

    We talked to her a little bit but before we were talking to her, she was talking to someone and she wanted to warm up. I think that she played some softball growing up and stuff so she definitely had a background.
    Aretha Franklin's Funeral Will Be Held Aug. 31

    Aretha Franklin's Funeral Will Be Held Aug. 31

    When Davis went public with Hudson's casting, it seemed like the movie - linked in reports to MGM - would soon become a reality. While as a journalist, you always want the scoop, as a person, I just wanted the Queen of Soul to be OK.
    WhatsApp backups to stop counting against your Google Drive storage allowance

    WhatsApp backups to stop counting against your Google Drive storage allowance

    Google Drive backups are conveniently built into the app but have always taken up valuable bytes of your storage quota. Google alerted users in an email, saying this change is due to an agreement formed between it and WhatsApp .


Popular

Elderly South Koreans to reunite with relatives in North
More than 131,000 people are registered as separated family members in South Korea , according to the government. None of them had a second chance to see or talk with their relatives.

New Apple iPhone Will Finally Get Apple Pencil Support
In September of the current year the company Apple will hold an official presentation of the novelty - iPhone X and iPhone X Plus. Apple is bound to adjust the prices of this model to meet the market expectation and to further expand its market share.

Novak Djokovic makes history before his US Open tilt
Djokovic, who came up empty in five prior Cincinnati finals, defeated seven-time victor Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Djokovic was ecstatic with his win, and thanked Federer after the win for his "letting [him] win once in Cincinnati".

MP bikes to hospital to 'finally have this baby'
The 42-week pregnant Julie Anne Genter posted on Instagram Sunday morning that she was on her way to Auckland City hospital. At the Green Party conference on Sunday, Shaw said it was "very on-brand" for Genter to cycle to hospital for the birth.

Israel Folau Ruled Out of Second Bledisloe Cup Test
The rest was the same old story that has been told since 2003, when New Zealand took the trophy and haven't given it back since. New Zealand gained a territorial advantage late in the first half, and it produced a try from scrumhalf Aaron Smith.

Google adds Confidential mode to Gmail app
Using the drop-down menu under Set expiration option, select when you'd like the email conversation to self-destruct. For non-Google email accounts, the recipient will get a link to open the email in a secure web portal.

Weinstein accuser Asia Argento 'paid teen hush money'
Bennett, now 22, played Argento's son in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things in 2004 when he was just seven years old. Argento's lawyer, Carrie Goldberg has not made an official comment and Bennett has not released a statement.

Vancouver weather: Smoke worsens tonight and on Monday
Layered treelines are seen through smoke-filled air, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, at Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state. A satellite image from Saturday is marked with where fires are burning north and northwest of the Tri-Cities.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 gets Rs 10,000 plus price cut
The theoretical top speed of 1.2Gbps of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 shows a 20% increase on the output of the Samsung Galaxy S9 . You can use the button to start and stop videos, activate the camera to take photos, move slides forward and back.

800,000 displaced in flooding in southern Indian state:The Asahi Shimbun
Roads and 134 bridges have been damaged, isolating remote areas in the hilly districts of the state which are worst affected. Panic-stricken people have been making appeals on social media for help, saying they can not get through to rescue services.