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还在把隐形眼镜丢进马桶冲掉?真的会污染水源

新浪科技 2018-08-22

  据国外媒体报道,隐形眼镜也有使用期限,那么,当你准备丢弃隐形眼镜时,你会怎么做?在科学家看来,你的回答不应该是“把它们冲下马桶”或者“将它们丢进水槽”。

  一项新研究发现,以上述方式丢弃隐形眼镜可能最终会导致水道内的微塑料污染。美国国家海洋和大气管理局(NOAA)指出,微塑料的长度通常在5毫米以下,与芝麻差不多,并且最终会流入海洋和大型湖泊,对水生生物造成潜在威胁。

  研究隐形眼镜去向的想法来自美国亚利桑那州立大学生物设计研究所环境卫生工程中心主管罗尔夫·霍尔登(Rolf Halden)教授。当他开始思考隐形眼镜使用后去往哪里的问题时,发现完全找不到任何有关的研究。

  因此,霍尔登及其团队开始了对139人的调查,包括了隐形眼镜佩戴者和非佩戴者。“15%到20%的隐形眼镜佩戴者在水槽或马桶中将隐形眼镜冲掉,”研究第一作者、亚利桑那州立大学的博士研究生查理·罗尔斯基(Charlie Rolsky)说,“这是一个相当大的数目,考虑到单单美国就有大约4500万人佩戴隐形眼镜。”

  那么,这些隐形眼镜被冲到下水道之后会发生什么?它们最终会进入污水处理厂,而这也正是可能带来风险的地方。污水在处理过程中要经过过滤,而隐形眼镜由柔性材料制成,可以折叠并通过过滤器。

  污水还会与各种各样的细菌混合,而这些细菌的任务是分解生物废料。为了更好地了解细菌如何影响隐形眼镜,研究人员将5种不同的隐形眼镜材料浸泡在含有这些细菌的混合物中,并设置了不同的浸泡时间。他们发现,隐形眼镜在浸泡后看起来基本都完好无损,不过进一步的分析显示,细菌还是削弱了隐形眼镜材料中的一些化学键,使其更容易碎成更小的碎片。研究人员称,这最终可能导致了微塑料的形成。

  另一项针对11种不同类型隐形眼镜的实验发现,大多数隐形眼镜的密度都大于水,因此它们在水体中会下沉。这对于许多在海底觅食的动物来说尤其危险,它们可能会吞食由隐形眼镜降解而成的微塑料碎片。

  研究人员于8月19日在波士顿举行的美国化学年会(National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society)上报告了该研究的结果。目前该研究尚未发表于同行评议的期刊上。(任天)

责任编辑:王超

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