Popular Science

Contact lenses don't belong in your toilet

Flushing those little lenses adds up to a big pollution problem.
two contact lenses on a pink and blue background


Diehard contacts wearers (like the author of this article) will tell you the best thing about the lenses is that they’re invisible. But that very invisibility, while an asset in the eye, is an environmental liability after each lens' short lifespan is over. New research presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual conference on Monday suggests that U.S. users don’t really think about where their contact lenses go after they pop them out—and that’s a heavy problem, both on land and in the water.

The conclusions are stark: as ends up heading into the environment—not to mention the tons of waste produced by the packaging the lenses come in. And even when contact lenses aren’t flushed down the toilet or dropped in the sink, they aren’t .

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