Guess Where Danger Toxin BPA Is Hiding Now

Jeanne Sager

cash registerYou threw out the plastic containers and switched to stainless steel, but you're probably being exposed to BPA every day anyway.

At least every time you go shopping.

The dangerous chemical also known as Bisphenol-A and called "a reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant" by the Environmental Protection Agency has shown up in the cash register receipts.

The Environmental Working Group tells The Stir a University of Missouri Division of Biological Sciences laboratory that was commissioned to test 36 different store receipts found "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."

According to EWG Spokesman Alex Formuzis, "BPA is used to coat thermal paper used by major retailers, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, fast-food restaurants, and automatic teller machines (ATMs). The chemical reacts with dye to form black print on receipts handled by millions of Americans every day.”

While the Department of Health and Human Services funds new studies into the effects of BPA on humans (to the tune of $30 million), the government has been advising parents to keep their kids' lives BPA-free because of the suspected dangers.

Canada and certain states have banned its use in the manufacture of plastic products.

But so far it's just scientists looking at the receipts -- a Swiss study found significant amounts were transferred to the skin simply by grabbing the receipt. People are advised to be sure to wash their hands after handling receipts to keep the BPA from being transferred to food or to the mouth.

Whose receipts are dangerous?

  • McDonald's
  • CVS
  • KFC
  • Whole Foods
  • Wal-Mart
  • Safeway
  • U.S. Postal Service

The good news -- 60 percent of the receipts tested were clean. Receipts that tested BPA-free or contained only trace amounts include:

  • Target
  • Starbucks
  • Bank of America ATMs

Will you be taking gloves to the grocery store next time?


Image via House of Sims/Flickr

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