Don't Touch that Receipt!

The plastic component bisphenol A (BPA) has been in the headlines nonstop as scientists, health experts and consumers press for a federal ban on food packaging made with this synthetic estrogen, shown to leach readily into infant formula, beverages and canned food. But most Americans are probably unaware that they are regularly exposed to the same endocrine-disrupting chemical in cash register receipts.

Synthetic estrogen BPA coats cash register receipts (Environmental Working Group) further reports,

A study published July 11 by Swiss scientists found that BPA transfers readily from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a depth that it cannot be washed off (Biedermann 2010). This raises the possibility that the chemical infiltrates the skin’s lower layers to enter the bloodstream directly… the total mass of BPA on a receipt is 250 to 1,000 times greater than the amount of BPA typically found in a can of food or a can of baby formula…

EWG analysis of CDC data has found that people who reported working in retail industries had 30 percent more BPA in their bodies than the average U.S. adult, and 34 percent more BPA than other workers. (CDC 2004). As of May 2009, 1 in 17 working Americans — 7 million people — were employed as retail salespersons and cashiers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics…

Since 60 percent of the receipts EWG collected did not have significant levels of BPA, it is apparent that many retailers are using alternatives. The leading U.S. thermal paper maker, Wisconsin-based Appleton Papers Inc., no longer incorporates BPA in any of its thermal papers (Raloff 2009). Reacting to concerns about the toxicity of BPA, the Japan Paper Association began to halt the use of BPA in 1998, completing the phase-out by 2003 (AIST 2007).

I contacted my local co-op and was informed they have not been able to find a thermal paper made without BPA or BPS. Apparently BPS is just as bad but paper makers can say it is BPA free. Does anyone know of a company that manufactures thermal paper that is both BPA and BPS free?  If so, please contact me.


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