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Cash register receipts identified as a source of BPA contamination


October 28, 2011

A recent study has exposed a source of BPA exposure that many people might not expect - thermal cash register receipts

A recent study has exposed a source of BPA exposure that many people might not expect - thermal cash register receipts

Remember not so long ago, when everyone was getting rid of their plastic water bottles and replacing them with metal ones? That's because they contained bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate plastic. Several recent studies had linked BPA to a number of health problems, including breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and behavioral difficulties. The chemical was also found to be present in baby bottles and tin can linings, but a more recent study has exposed a source of BPA exposure that many people might not expect - thermal cash register receipts.

The research was conducted by Chunyang Liao and Kurunthachalam Kannan, of the New York State Department of Health and the State University of New York at Albany's School of Public Health.

Their study entailed analyzing hundreds of thermal cash register receipts, along with 14 other types of paper products, collected in the U.S., Japan, Korea and Vietnam. BPA was found in 94 percent of the receipts, in which it was used as a developer for the printing dye. The chemical was not present in receipts from Japan, however, as that country stopped using BPA in receipts in 2001.

While the concentration of BPA was highest in receipts, lower levels of it were also found in 81 percent of the other paper products. This, the researchers stated, was due to the recycling of receipts, which resulted in their BPA content being passed on to items such as napkins, toilet paper and food packaging.

Altogether, it was concluded that the handling of thermal cash register receipts was the source of over 98 percent of consumer exposure to BPA from paper. That paper-based exposure, in turn, was estimated to account for up to two percent of the general population's total daily BPA exposure. For people working around thermal receipts, however, the percentage could be considerably higher.

A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

oh great, I handle those all day

Bill Bennett

seriously? most people won\'t really be able to see what\'s going on with \'research\' like this. people have been using thermal receipts for decades. they cannot be THAT bad for you.

why is this \'research\' coming out now. and precisely who funded it .

i can tell you this. the irs and mastercard/visa are teaming up their efforts to discourage the use of physical paper cash altogether. why? because the irs wants to track all transactions. they have even \'illegalized\' not reporting barter transactions of physical goods in the past couple years. but , as we all know, small businesses and individual income earners and payers don\'t report all money they transact with. so...the irs is trying to help visa and mastercard push their plastic debit card mechanism ( as applied through their servicing of any financial institution offering a debit card by way of visa and mastercards transfer technology/mechanism) to discourage the use of physical cash in favor of plastic.

this is about visa and mastercard increasing their revenue. every debit transaction makes them money. the very small percentage they make adds up when hundreds of billions if not trillions of purchases a year are made with their plastic instead of the cash, which costs the public nothing to use, and the government and the fed has to print it and pay for it ( using taxpayer dollars to fund treasury and fed operations) . this good for america that articles like this are surrepticiously backing visa/mc efforts? i don\'t think so. i think plastic is good theoretically and that debit systems are of course convenient. but this system is privately captured by the banks who make privatised profits on servicing the public\'s needs for currency usage. sometimes i think this is fair. but you you must realize the irs-and visa/mc, are deeply involved with bank of american jpmorgan citibank and afew other of the too big too fails----who are the largest theives in american. stealing and printing money as much as they want no matter how many times they get caught or sued, they just pay their way out with money that they own the printing press for.----so in the context of this criminal behavior. physical cash, let alone gold and silver are your only protection from the irs and the federal reserve and visa and mastercard.


I thought it was a well known fact, that going through your receipts can be hazardous to ones mental and physical well-being....any parent could tell ya that #P

Vincent Najger

Sorry to burst your rambling conspiracy bubble, zevulon, but when you use a credit or debit card, you still get a paper receipt, and it\'s usually on the same thermal paper registers and point-of-sale terminals use.

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