If you think that you are buying healthy stuff from the grocery stores, you might not know that the cash receipts you receive can be unhealthy for you. A new study claims the cash receipts can contain high level of the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA). BPA exposure from canned and food sources is ubiquitous and a major health concern for many countries. Now a significant portion of the people may also be exposed to BPA by handling cash receipts.
What is BPA?
BPA is a plastic hardener and synthetic estrogen which is used to coat thermal paper used by major retailers, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, fast-food restaurants, post offices and automatic teller machines (ATMs). The chemical reacts with dye to form black print on receipts handled by millions of Americans every day.
What are the risks associated with BPA?
Animal tests have shown that BPA can induce abnormal reproductive system development, diminished intellectual capacity and behavioral abnormalities. A study published July 11 by scientists with the Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zürich in Switzerlandfound that BPA transfers readily from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a depth that it cannot be washed off. Retail workers carry an average of 30% more BPA in their bodies than other adults, according to an EWG analysis of biomonitoring data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Who conducted the study?
Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC collected cash receipts from various locations in seven states and the District of Columbia. The receipts were tested by the University of Missouri Division...
of Biological Sciences laboratory, one of the world’s foremost research facilities in its capability to detect environmentally relevant amounts of BPA.
About the Study
The findings of the study claimed that 40% of cash receipts sampled from major U.S. businesses and services, including outlets of McDonald’s, CVS, KFC, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, Safeway and the U.S. Postal Service contain the higher level of BPA. The receipts were found having 250 to 1,000 times greater amount of BPA than approved range. In fact the amount was higher than the more widely discussed sources of BPA exposure, including canned foods, baby bottles and infant formula.
However, the cash receipts from Target, Starbucks, Bank of America ATMs and other important enterprises were BPA-free or contained only trace amounts of BPA.
This is the first study to spotlight that most Americans get direct exposure to BPA just by handling receipts. I believe EPA must take necessary steps to address this issue as millions of people can be affected with this harmful chemical even if they refrain themselves from buying canned foods and beverages having BPA. This is good news that 60% stores cash receipts are BPA free, other stores should also use the same material for their receipts in order to check the menace.