No...I am not making this up. Retail receipts could be toxic.
Surprisingly, the ink used to print paper receipts often contains Bisphenol-A (BPA) an endocrine-disrupting chemical used in plastics. The extent to which this chemical is toxic on receipts is undetermined at this time because most of the studies with BPA have been looking at exposure through ingestion of BPA.
The Environmental Working Group’s mission is “to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.” In an article on EWG’s website titled Tests Find Chemical-Laden Receipts at National Retailers, a study published by Swiss scientists on July 11, 2008 titled the Transfer of bisphenol A from thermal printer paper to the skin, BPA can transfer from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a point that it can not be washed off. EWG warns that touching a receipt with BPA ink and then touching your lips, or your children, or your animals, may lead to toxic exposure.
EWG did their own study and collected 36 receipts and asked the University of Missouri Division of Biological Sciences lab to determine how much BPA is actually on the receipts. The U. of Missouri study found the total amount of BPA on an average receipt is 250-1,000 times higher than the amount of BPA found in a can of baby formula or can of soup. I encourage you to click on the following link and read about this enlightening study http://www.ewg.org/bpa-in-store-receipts. The following are EWG’s tips to lower your exposure to BPA in receipts:
- Minimize receipt collection by declining receipts at gas pumps, ATMs and other machines when possible.
- Store receipts separately in an envelope in a wallet or purse.
- Never give a child a receipt to hold or play with.
- After handling a receipt, wash hands before preparing and eating food.
- Do not use alcohol-based hand cleaners after handling receipts. A recent study showed that these products can increase the skin’s BPA absorption.
- Take advantage of store services that email or archive paperless purchase records.
- Do not recycle receipts or other thermal paper. BPA residues from receipts will contaminate recycled paper.
We have a simple solution that also reduces waster...stop printing receipts!
Source: National Institutes of Health