New Jersey residents have already been warned about the dangers of flushing wipes down the toilet. Now we’re being told that flushing contact lenses and dental floss down the john could also create serious problems.

“Rule No. 1 is if it’s not toilet paper you should not flush it down the toilet,” said Doug O’Malley, the director of Environment New Jersey. “We don’t want to add anything that’s going to clog up anyone’s pipes, whether it be close to your house or in a sewage treatment facility.”

O’Malley said contact lenses are made from a type of plastic that will break down somewhat but not completely. It doesn't just hurt the fish — the micro-plastic eventually ends up in our own drinking water.

“The simple truth is we shouldn’t be drinking plastics, even if they’re microscopic and we can’t see them. We need to be doing everything we can to filter out these plastics at the source.”

Jersey’s sewage infrastructure is old in most places.

He said when there’s a lot of rain, “we get too many combined sewer overflows, and that’s how we see more waste getting into our waterways as well as more plastic waste.”

He said the problem with flushing dental floss down the toilet is it gets stuck to other objects in pipes and causes blockages.

“As you know when you floss, that floss is actually really strong. You ever try to break dental floss? It is tough," he said.

“We don’t want to have anything that creates blockages and we certainly don’t want to be adding more plastics to our water," he said.

“Flushable wipes, contact lenses, dental floss, you name it — it’s going to create problems down the line.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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