HOW SAFE ARE THE PAPER RECEIPTS FROM YOUR PURCHASES?

ellwood thompson's, food advocate, kirk schroder, richmond virginia

Bisphenol-A is the chemical name for what is commonly referred to BPA.  BPA is chemical found in plastics used for food and drink containers and other plastic items. Researchers have found that BPA interferes with the correct function of human hormones because it is an endocrine disruptor. Some studies link BPA to, among other things, abnormal brain function, breast cancer,  diabetes and sex function.  According to the New York Times, some studies estimate that over 90 percent of people have traces of BPA in their system.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/science/fda-bans-bpa-from-baby-bottles-and-sippy-cups.html?_r=0  Up to now, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to ban BPA.

See http://www.forbes.com/sites/amywestervelt/2012/03/30/fda-rejects-bpa-ban/  The FDA does recognize BPA as a chemical of concern.

See http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/bpa.html  The FDA earlier this year did conduct a study to determine if there are alternatives to the use of BPA.  That study can be reviewed here.

To provide further perspective, the FDA is notorious for its inability to study and be aware of the many chemicals introduced into our food supply. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/food-additives-on-the-rise-as-fda-scrutiny-wanes/2014/08/17/828e9bf8-1cb2-11e4-ab7b-696c295ddfd1_story.html

BPA is also used on thermal paper which is commonly used on store, travel and other payment receipts. That means nearly everyone who makes a purchase of some type handles paper receipts containing BPA which is then absorbed in their system.  Those instances multiply on a daily basis depending on the number of face-to-face purchases. 

Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Medicine Association (JAMA) published a study showing that the handling of thermal receipts significantly increases BPA exposure. See http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832525 

That study is best summarized and explained in a Newsweek article found here. The results of that study are disturbing.

Just recently another disturbing report has come out:  the use of hand sanitizers increases the absorption of BPA from receipts.  According the study done by the University of Missouri, the use of hand sanitizers increases the absorption factor of BPA by a factor of 100 or more. A good summary and explanation of that study is found in a Newsweek article.

Besides banning BPA, is there an easy answer for this dilemma? The best answer for now is awareness of this problem and to act in a consciousness manner to avoid BPA as much as practically possible. 

 hand holds the check from supermarket

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