Apparently consumers don't have as much control as they thought over avoiding products with bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical. What are two items that consumers cannot avoid? Dollar bills and receipts. And that's exactly where BPA is being found, according to a new study conducted by nonprofit groups Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and the Washington Toxics Coalition.
The research found large amounts of unbound BPA on half of thermal paper receipts tested. The data suggests that the toxic chemical is easily transferred to our skin. And no, you can't just gingerly grab the receipt and toss it away really fast. In just ten seconds, 2.5 micrograms of BPA are transferred to your fingers.
As for dollar bills, BPA was found on 95 percent of the bills tested. BPA levels were much lower than those found on the receipts, but that doesn't help us rest any easier. Recent research has explored the connection between BPA exposure and various health problems like cancer, and Canada recently became the first country to officially list BPA as a toxic chemical.
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is pushing Congress to adopt a chemical policy with greater regulation of chemicals like BPA. Meanwhile, the Washington Toxics Coalition is offering a list of ways to avoid BPA exposure. Their tips include refusing a receipt, washing hands frequently, and choosing bottles that are not polycarbonate plastic.
Suddenly online shopping seems a bit more appealing this holiday season.