Monday, May 30, 2011

BPA free receipts

You have probably heard of BPA (bisphenol A) and the dangers of it being a likely endocrine disruptor.  It has been removed from the majority of baby bottles and many other plastic products.  It is banned in Canada and some European countries.  Recently, there was a lot of attention brought by the media to the BPA contained in cash register receipts.  The concern is/was that you are handling these without washing your hands right away and potentially absorbing it directly through your skin.  Lots and lots of companies are switching to BPA-free receipts, and the cool thing is that you can tell right away if the receipt is BPA free.  The company that makes most receipt paper in America has put small red fibers in the BPA receipts.  At first, I was really excited about this but I couldn't resist researching it a little further. 

Apparently, these BPA free receipts contain bisphenol S, which is also a potential endocrine disruptor but even less is known about it than BPA.

Here are some tips from the EWG to reduce your exposure to BPA and potentially bisphenol S and other chemicals in receipt paper:
  • Minimize receipt collection by declining receipts at gas pumps, ATMs and other machines when possible.
  • Store receipts separately in an envelope in a wallet or purse.
  • Never give a child a receipt to hold or play with.
  • After handling a receipt, wash hands before preparing and eating food (a universally recommended practice even for those who have not handled receipts).
  • Do not use alcohol-based hand cleaners after handling receipts. A recent study showed that these products can increase the skin's BPA absorption (Biedermann 2010).
  • Take advantage of store services that email or archive paperless purchase records.
  • Do not recycle receipts and other thermal paper. BPA residues from receipts will contaminate recycled paper.
  • If you are unsure, check whether paper is thermally treated by rubbing it with a coin. Thermal paper discolors with the friction; conventional paper does not.

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