Estrogen Mimic in Paper Receipts
A chemical which mimics hormones like estrogen has been found in 40 per cent of paper receipts issued by supermarkets, automated teller machines, petrol stations and stores in general. The amount of bisphenol A (BPA) contained in some receipts was a much as 1,000 times that found in the epoxy lining of a can of food, a common use for the chemical.
The Environmental Working Group’s senior analyst Sonya Lunder said BPA’s use on printed receipts could help explain why the chemical can be detected in the urine of an estimated 93 percent of Americans, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
“When you’re carrying around a receipt in your wallet for months …. you could be shedding BPA into your home, into your environment,” she said. “If you throw a receipt into a bag and it’s lying against an apple … you could be getting all kinds of exposure and not realise it.”
The American Chemistry Council which represents the chemical industry admits that bisphemol A can transfer from paper receipts to the skin, but maintains that the level of absorption is low.
Previously used as a fungicide, Bisphenol A or BPA is a popular color developer in thermal paper and in carbonless copy paper. It is also widely used to manufacture many plastics and plastic additives. Epoxy resins containing bisphenol A are used as coatings on the inside of almost all food and beverage cans, including bottle caps. Even water supply lines are coated with this chemical.
Bisphenol A is a key component in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic, a clear and nearly shatter-proof plastic used to make a variety of common products including baby and water bottles, sports equipment, medical and dental devices, dental fillings and sealants, eyeglass lenses, CDs and DVDs, and household electronics.
BPA is an endocrine disrupter, mimicking hormones like estrogen. In fact, it was developed in the 1930s as a synthetic form of estrogen. Research indicates that low doses can interfere with the endocrine system and cause a range of health issues, such as reproductive problems and cancer. Lawmakers have moved to ban bisphenol A from food and beverage containers made for infants and children.
To think I used to try to recycle paper receipts by writing my shopping list on the back of them! Horrors! From now on, I’m throwing those things away immediately.