Contact Lenses Add to Earth’s Microplastic Crisis

ecowatch.com
Contact Lenses Add to Earth’s Microplastic Crisis
Lorraine Chow
4-5 minutes

Contact lenses may appear harmlessly soft and small, but a big chunk of American users are improperly disposing their used lenses and adding to the planet’s microplastic problem, Arizona State University researchers found.

In a survey of 409 wearers, about 1 in 5 responded that they flushed their used lenses down the toilet or sink instead of throwing them in the trash, according to a new study presented at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting and Exposition.

“We found that 15 to 20 percent of contact wearers are flushing the lenses down the sink or toilet,” said Charlie Rolsky, an Arizona State University Ph.D. student who is presenting the work, in a press release.

The flushed lenses, which are mostly plastic, turn up at wastewater treatment plants and become part of sewage sludge that gets spread on farmland.

Contact lenses recovered from treated sewage sludge Charles Rolsky

With 45 million contact users in the U.S., the research team estimated 6-10 metric tons of plastic lenses end up in wastewater in the U.S. alone each year.

Rolf Halden, the director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and one of the authors of the new study, noted at a press conference on Monday that these contacts do not decompose.

“They don’t degrade. They don’t attenuate but they become smaller. So they create what we know as microplastic pollution, which is contaminating the oceans,” he said.

Halden said that fragments have been found in sewage sludge, which can contaminate the soil environment and become ingested by earthworms when it’s spread on land.

“We know that earthworms take up soil and can ingest plastics, and then if birds eat the worms it creates a pathway for plastics to enter the food chain,” he said. Further, after heavy rains, the plastic bits can trickle out into streams and other waterways and make their way into the ocean.

And it’s not just the contact lenses themselves that are an environmental problem. Dailies, weeklies and monthlies are packaged by the billions in polypropylene plastic containers and aluminum lids, and “the unfortunate news is that they do not get recycled very effectively,” Halden said. Only one manufacturer, Bausch + Lomb, has a take-back recycling program.

Soft contacts are usually made of a combination of poly(methylmethacrylate), silicones and fluoropolymers, which makes them feel watery and gel-like. Halden suggested that people flick their contacts down the sink or toilet because they do not feel like solid plastic waste.

The researchers hope their study will teach users to stop flushing their contacts. They are also calling on lens manufacturers, at the very least, to label their products with proper disposal instructions.

“Ultimately, we hope that manufacturers will conduct more research on how the lenses impact aquatic life and how fast the lenses degrade in a marine environment,” Halden said in the press release.

Angela Lashbrook, who reported about the new study for The Atlantic, admitted to flushing lenses down the toilet herself. She also polled a few of her contact-wearing friends and was surprised to find they all flushed their lenses, too.

Thanks to the study, she and her friends vowed to make the simple switch of throwing used contacts in the trash.

“It’s quite possibly the easiest change to my behavior I’ve ever had to make that could avoid hurting the environment. My contacts-wearing friends, without my scolding, all pledged to do the same,” Lashbrook wrote.

Watch here to learn more about the study:

https://www.ecowatch.com/contact-lenses-microplastic-waste-2597484024.html?utm_source=EcoWatch%2BList&utm_campaign=4d13d4e552-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-4d13d4e552-86074753

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Petition · U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Protection of red wolves in North Carolina · Change.org

change.org
Petition · U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Protection of red wolves in North Carolina · Change.org
Bailie Proveaux started this petition to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 5 others

Stop the proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would allow the public to shoot and kill Red Wolves on U.S. soil if not on the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, meaning any can be shot on private land. This proposal is to voice the general public and the residents of North Carolina’s opinion of keeping the 2006 Red Wolf Recovery Act alive in fear of possible extinction and endangerment of a necessary and incredible species.

The population of Red Wolves in the Wild has dropped to shocking numbers as the current estimate is a heart wrenching 40 in 2018. Don’t wait to do something until the only red wolves we’ve saved are the few behind closed doors and living in captivity. Red Wolves are an important part of our echo system just as any other predator is. Without these animals an overpopulation of deer and other wildlife is possible, which can also lead to problems such as disease.

Let’s make sure they can continue to live there lives on and off of the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge.

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-fish-and-wildlife-service-protection-of-red-wolves-in-north-carolina/sign?utm_medium=email&utm_source=aa_sign_human&utm_campaign=393490&utm_content=&sfmc_tk=Y65ELrEVwnOSO7%2bDYTtOcZoJO8qaap4jTxSHw11uftls3cxBpKaVDmi8YmY2Is3e&j=393490&sfmc_sub=61374949&l=32_HTML&u=64896972&mid=7233053&jb=1765

Petition · Ask Costco to stop selling styrofoam products · Change.org

change.org
Petition · Ask Costco to stop selling styrofoam products · Change.org
David Sergi started this petition to Costco Wholesale
2 minutes

Did you know Americans throw away billions of styrofoam cups each year — cups that create pollution that stays in our environment for generations.

More and more people are dumping styrofoam — finding solutions for cups, plates, containers and other materials that don’t poison the environment.

Costco sells styrofoam cups and serving trays. We are asking Costco to stop selling styrofoam products to encourage paper products that are better for the environment. Will you join us?

More and more corporations are looking for ways to encourage sustainability. Just this year big companies like McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts announced that they would be phasing out styrofoam cups, and companies like IKEA have already said they’d phase out styrofoam packaging.

The companies making styrofoam products also make products that are better for the environment. By Costco selling more of the environmentally-friendly products, it will help lower cost and ensure environmentally-friendly products are accessible to everyone. That’s why we’re urging Costco to set a better standard for retail stores, and stop carrying styrofoam products in their stores.

https://www.change.org/p/ask-costco-to-stop-selling-styrofoam-products/sign?utm_medium=email&utm_source=aa_sign_human&utm_campaign=393474&utm_content=&sfmc_tk=Y65ELrEVwnOSO7%2bDYTtOcUH1V6LjbFFCIgnb9Xcx%2fpOqiqvB5XWG8alkVoyJ5fF4&j=393474&sfmc_sub=61374949&l=32_HTML&u=64877233&mid=7233053&jb=864

Artificial Intelligence may Replace Testing of Live Animals – FIREPAW, Inc.

Great news coming out of the scientific – based tech world today: The use of laboratory animals to test drug safety may be replaced by computer models and artificial intelligence(Al). It turns out that Al results can be even more accurate and reliable then real animal tests. We may finally be getting ready to turn the corner on the use of live animal testing.

Al May soon save a ton of animals from drug testing…

https://firepaw.org/2018/08/17/artificial-intelligence-may-replace-testing-of-live-animals/

WordPress.com Boots Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory Sites, Bans Malicious Publication of Unauthorized Images of Minors – WordPress Tavern

https://wptavern.com/wordpress-com-boots-sandy-hook-conspiracy-theory-sites-bans-malicious-publication-of-unauthorized-images-of-minors

US: Free Speech – Hate Speech – Limitations On Free Speech

Mining Awareness +

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic…. The question in every case is whether the words used … create a clear and present danger” (Justice Holmes in Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 52 (1919) [1]

Ben Franklin Freedom of Thought Speech Capitol, AOC gov

Lost in the discussion about unfettered freedom of speech is the 1977 Supreme Court decision, “National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie.” The nationalist party promoted a Nazi and anti-Semitic platform, and despite attempts by Skokie, Illinois, to restrict the group, the court ruled it could march in the predominately Jewish town, north of Chicago. All speech is free speech, the court ruled.

Many people are unaware of that decision, says Howard Gillman, chancellor of the University of California-Irvine, because, “Not a lot…

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