Time for Action on BPA
Bisphenol A is a widespread chemical that is wrecking havoc with human reproductive health. Created by a biochemist, it was initially tested as an artificial estrogen supplement. Only later did it begin appearing in virtually everything you can’t get away from. Like food-can linings, pliable plastic drinking bottles, dental composites and resins—and thermal cash register receipts.
The latter, according to a recent study by scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is a major source of BPA contamination among Americans. Under real-world conditions, new research showed, volunteers rapidly absorb BPA into the bloodstream. When subjects had recently used common personal care products, such as hand sanitizer, hand cream or sunscreen, before handling standard store thermal cash register receipts, they absorbed significant amounts of the problematic chemical.
Things got even worse if the subjects ate greasy food soon afterwards. Have you ever made a purchase, handled a receipt, then eaten french fries while driving to your next appointment? Bingo. That’s the all-too-common scenario replicated in the experiment.
"Our research found that large amounts of BPA can be transferred to your hands and then to the food you hold and eat as well as be absorbed through your skin,"said Frederick vom Saal, Curators Professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU.
Why should we be concerned? ”BPA exhibits hormone-like properties and has been proven to cause reproductive defects in fetuses, infants, children and adults, as well as cancer, metabolic and immune problems in rodents. BPA from thermal papers will be absorbed into your blood rapidly; at those levels, many diseases such as diabetes and disorders such as obesity increase as well. Use of BPA or other similar chemicals that are being used to replace BPA in thermal paper pose a threat to human health.”
BPA may be promoting diabetes and obesity. Why is this stuff still in circulation? All I can do is recommend that we, as consumers, begin demanding a change for the better. And wash your hands as soon as possible after handling receipts.
Annette M. Hormann, Frederick S. vom Saal, Susan C. Nagel, Richard W. Stahlhut, Carol L. Moyer, Mark R. Ellersieck, Wade V. Welshons, Pierre-Louis Toutain, Julia A. Taylor. Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphenol A (BPA). PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (10): e110509 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110509