When shopping, how many times do you hear the cashier ask, "Would you like a receipt"? And how many times do you take one? Well, here's some eye-opening news that may help make that decision easier.
According to a study just released by Washington, DC-based Environmental Working Group (EWG), laboratory studies show that "40 percent of receipts sampled from major U.S. businesses and services, including outlets of McDonald's, CVS, KFC, Whole Foods, WalMart, Safeway and the U.S. Postal Service" contain chemical bisphenol A (BPA). BPA's primary use is in the manufacturing of plastics. Many food containers are lined with it and it's been leaching into our food supply for close to 50 years.
BPA is a known carcinogen that is also considered quite toxic to the human endocrine and nervous system as well dangerous to the thyroid. Its potency has been studied by several public and private agencies and it's basically considered to be a poison. And according to a report from the FDA earlier this year, there are concerns for the health of fetuses, infants, and young children regarding exposure to BPA.
According to an article published last April in Time magazine, "The Perils of Plastic," author Brian Walsh says, "The problem is, BPA is also a synthetic estrogen, and plastics with BPA can break down, especially when they're washed, heated or stressed, allowing the chemical to leach into food and water and then enter the human body.
"That happens to nearly all of us; the CDC has found BPA in the urine of 93% of surveyed Americans over the age of 6. If you don't have BPA in your body, you're not living in the modern world."
We live in a world of plastic and we're finding it less and less healthy every day. The fact that it's now found on paper receipts makes it all the more alarming. How do we get away from this stuff? Walsh also reports that the most alarming statistic from the EWG study indicates that "The total amounts of BPA on receipts tested were 250 to 1,000 times greater than other, more widely discussed sources of BPA exposure, including canned foods, baby bottles and infant formula. The EWG study also points out there are retailers that offer receipts without BPA such as Target, Starbucks, and Bank of America ATMs."
We all know that it takes petroleum to make plastic and that's just another reason to consider the idea of not using as much of it. And we also know that there is not one easy solution to this problem. However, knowing that grabbing a receipt means we're taking our life in our own hands is entirely different. By avoiding this one small act that is repeated millions of times per day we can begin looking after ourselves when it comes to plastic.
Jonathan A. Schein is CEO, ScheinMedia and publisher of MetroGreenBusiness.com