Environmental Group Finds BPA in 40% of Store Receipts

Amid debate over the use of the controversial chemical bisphenol A in food packaging, an environmental group has demonstrated how widely the chemical — known as BPA — also is found in paper receipts.

The Environmental Working Group identified the chemical in 40 percent of the receipts it picked up from supermarkets, automated teller machines, gas stations and chain stores, The Washington Post reports. Some of them had 1,000 times the amount of BPA contained in the lining of a tin can.

“We’ve come across potentially major sources of BPA right here in our daily lives,” Sonya Lunder, an analyst for the group, told The Post. “When you’re carrying around a receipt in your wallet for months while you intend to return something, you could be shedding BPA into your home, into your environment. If you throw a receipt into a bag of food, and it’s lying there against an apple, or you shove a receipt into your bag next to a baby pacifier, you could be getting all kinds of exposure and not realize it.”

BPA often is used in hard plastic and in the lining of canned foods, including fruits and vegetables, liquid baby formula, soda and beer. Scientists are particularly concerned about the potential for BPA to cause health problems in children and fetuses. Some experts also believe that exposure increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease in adults, and a study found that the substance interferes with the ability of chemotherapy to do its job.

As the Post reports, earlier this year the Food and Drug Administration expressed “some concern” about BPA and joined several agencies in conducting $30 million in studies. Meanwhile, lawmakers on the local, state and federal levels have moved to ban BPA from food and beverage containers for infants and children.

Scientists don’t know how much of the chemical is absorbed through the skin when handling something like a receipt, or if people transfer the chemical to the foods they touch and then eat.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents the chemical industry, argues that the amount absorbed is minimal.

“Biomonitoring data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control shows that exposure to BPA from all sources, which would include typical exposure from receipts, is extremely low,” the Council said.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency launched a campaign to encourage companies to reduce the use of BPA in receipts.

Related articles:

Environmental Group Pushes for BPA Ban By Suing FDA

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6 comments to “Environmental Group Finds BPA in 406 of Store Receipts”

  1. Pat Kozlowski

    In addition to thermal receipts Carbonless copy paper also contains BPA as an admixture according to the “NIOSH Health Hazard Review:Carbonless Copy Paper” list of chemicals. Back to the thermal receipts and that research.
    At the time of this printing the research was not yet in on the dermal absorption. The article “Holding Thermal receipt paper…” (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0110509) dated October 22, 2014 shows that dermal absorption, as well as using hand sanitizers (this causes more of the BPA to transfer because of the drying agents in the product) and using any product containing dermal penetration enhancing chemicals like hand lotions, etc. cause more BPA to be absorbed into the body. Handling foods like french fries after handling thermal receipts are causing oral transfer into the body.
    Research is also in on the higher levels of BPA in cashiers, however factory workers exposed to BPA had higher levels. Harford School of Public Health reports that BPA exposure during pregnancy is being linked to behavior problems in girls exhibiting anxious, depressed behavior and poorer emotional control. Hormones guide brain development in the womb and BPA is an endocrine disrupting compound. It could interfere with dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with regulation of behavior and may be a risk factor for ADHD.
    BPA is also being linked to meningiomas, a specific type of brain tumor. While 90% of these tumor cases are benign, the slow growing tumors can still cause illness and death as the push against the brain and spinal cord.
    BPA research is linking this chemical to anxiety , hyperactivity and heart disease
    BPA is showing up in recycled paper, napkin, paper towels, toilet paper and tissues made from recycled papers. If you tell someone NOT to recycle receipts or carbonless forms they are quite surprised. We need national recognition of this problem to stop it from entering the market as recycled content in any product that manufacturers can sell.

    We need legislation to cause the products that are being tested and found to be linked to chemicals that are causing problems and illness to be removed from the market and then only returned when they can be proven safe for all mankind.

  2. Nancy Rutigliano

    Appleton Papers’ statements are as good as toilet paper. Recycled toilet paper which is contaminated with the chemicals in thermal paper and duplicate forms. Appleton and other manufacturers have evaded instructions towards the general public and businesses for safe disposal. No warning for end users either. One has to search NIOSH & OSHA for safe handling recommendations.

    See Rutigliano v. Valley Businesses Forms, Appleton Papers, MEAD, et al. My case was taught at Harvard Law under The Gatekeepers Project. I have first-hand witnessed their obfuscation and lies.

  3. Diane Schramm

    Appleton Papers is using the cousin of BPA called BPS, aka diphenyl sulfone. If you pull up the MSDS for this it is just as toxic as BPA. This was in ScienceNews edition on Monday, November 8, 2010. You can no longer bring the article up on the internet now. It quotes a Kent Willetts, the firm’s vice president of strategic development, who claims Appleton (or they call themselves Appvion now) is the only company to make – or sell – BPA-free thermal-receipt paper in North America.

    It was also in the Post Crescent Newspaper in which Bill Van Den Brandt states the same
    in an artice in March of 2010.

    What a joke!

  4. Carol Green

    My disabled son, on SSI, suffers prostatitis and recently had an operation for kidney stones. For years, he ate fruits, vegetables, beans and soups from cans. Like many on SSI, he goes through maybe 100 cans of food a month.
    Recently, after learning that BPA actually causes the ailments he suffers, my son stopped eating canned foods. Within weeks, all his symptoms–painful symptoms he has suffered for ten years–have completely disappeared. The reason? He is no longer ingesting BPA.
    Thousands of impoverished people in the US are homeless, in shelters or group homes, with no ability to store food in refrigerators or cook food on stovetops. They are forced to eat out of cans at each meal. Shelters serve food daily to the hungry from cans donated in canned food drives. The resulting physical problems caused by BPA cost the taxpayer millions of dollars to treat.
    I believe our FDA is complicit in harming the health of the poor by not banning BPA. Compounding the problem, the government then siphons taxpayer money to help the poor with resulting prostate and kidney operations, hospitalization, and medication.
    I want to know why the FDA permits a chemical like BPA to be used in food containers when it is so dangerous. I want to know why the FDA doesn’t ban BPA now that it is known to cause widespread medical problems.
    The chemical companies are in bed with the lawmakers and the FDA. They are mercenaries committing genocide, and the FDA is the accomplice.
    My family has vowed not to eat canned foods until BPA is banned.
    What else can we do?

    Carol Green, Retired California Teacher
    email hidden; JavaScript is required

  5. Appleton Papers

    Appleton Papers, which makes more than 50 percent of the receipt paper sold in the U.S., stopped using BPA in 2006. After reviewing available science we concluded removing BPA from our thermal products was the responsible thing to do. In doing so, we gave retailers and restaurants a safe, easy and cost-competitive choice. Our BPA-free thermal receipt paper is available globally.

    We realize that many of our competitors continue to use BPA despite mounting concerns about its safety. We are actively participating in the EPA’s BPA Alternatives in Thermal Paper Partnership. We hope the remainder of the thermal paper industry moves away from potentially harmful BPA. More information about the partnership is available on the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/projects/bpa/index.htm

    For more information about Appleton and our BPA-free thermal paper products, visit http://www.appletonideas.com.

  6. B. Snake, Esq.

    Checkout clerks unite! Class action lawsuit for work environment that robbed you of your health and your kids’ health. Think how many receipts you have handled! We will sue the stores, the cash register companies, the paper & ink producers and even the foresters who gathered the trees for the paper and the trucking companies that brought those receipts to you.

    Call the law firm of Snake, Bat, Slug & Hyena today @ 1-800-555-1111 xt BR549

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