(NaturalNews) Avoiding exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA), the endocrine-disrupting plastics chemical linked to reproductive problems and other serious health issues, means more than just drinking out of BPA-free bottles and limiting consumption of canned foods. A new study put out by the Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC) says that more than half of store receipts are coated in large amounts of powdered BPA - and nearly all dollar bills contain BPA residue.
Many stores use a type of thermal paper in their receipt machines that is coated in unbound BPA powder. A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that some receipts contain as much as three percent pure BPA by weight. And since the chemical is unbound, it literally transfers directly onto skin when touched. WTC says that in as little as ten seconds of light handling, BPA receipts can transfer large amounts of BPA directly into the body.
"Our findings demonstrate that BPA cannot be avoided, even by the most conscious consumer," said Erika Schreder, staff scientist at WTC and lead author of the study. "This unregulated use of large amounts of BPA is having unintended consequences, including exposure to people when we touch receipts."
The lower amounts of BPA found on money are likely due to the bills constantly touching BPA receipts in people's wallets and billfolds. And because both money bills and receipts are practically everywhere, there is no telling how much BPA powder residue is contaminating surfaces routinely touched by children, not to mention the overall environmental impact caused by this pervasive source of BPA.
Interestingly, WTC found that recycling BPA receipts represents the largest source of BPA entering waste water treatment plants. And because BPA coating materials are highly volatile, they can spread very easily in recycling facilities as well where they unintentionally contaminate new paper products.
Retailers whose receipts tested BPA-free - at least some of the time in some locations - included Trader Joe's, Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Albertson's, Hannaford, Price Chopper and Sears.
Retailers whose receipts tested positive for high levels of BPA included Safeway, Cub Foods, Sunoco, Kroger, Giant Eagle, H-E-B, Randalls, Fred Meyer, Meijer, Shaw's, and the Rayburn Cafe in the US House of Representatives cafeteria.
Also, be sure to inquire of your local retailers to verify whether or not they use BPA receipts. If they do, ask them to switch to BPA-free receipt paper for the safety of their customers and to protect the environment.