BPA in till receipts

BPA hazard in thermal receipts

This puts a whole new spin on the phrase, "shop till you drop". A study has revealed that high levels of the toxin can be found in cash register receipts.

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been a big concern. We didn't want this chemical in our plastic water bottles. We made sure that this chemical was not used in the production of baby and children's products.

Touching the receipt for five seconds with just your fingertip will wipe off up to 23 micrograms of BPA. This can then be wiped off onto your food and you are enjoying BPA with your lunch. If all the fingers touch the piece of cash receipt paper then the amount increases tenfold by an order of magnitude when you crumple the receipt into your palm. Makes you shudder to think of it!

In 2008 Canada was the first country to ban BPA from plastic food containers. Health Canada has stated that it is dangerous to consume more then 25 micrograms per kilogram of body mass per day. There is some concern that even smaller amounts may be too much. The 2009 results of a research group were that there is carcinogenic and long-term reproductive effects in mice that has only one microgram of BPA per kilogram of body mass.

How does BPA get into cash receipts?

Theatre and concert tickets are also printed on thermal paper, just like receipts. The dye is part of the paper which helps to make the printing process reliable and inexpensive. When heat is generated during the printing process, a solvent in the paper melts. This allows the dye to mix with BPA and get darker and the text on the receipt appears.

How much BPA is in the receipts?

To determine just how much BPA is in the receipts we handle each day a team of scientists in Boston, Mass. analyzed the chemicals in the thermal paper. The report is that during July 2010 researchers from the Warner Babcock Institute checked 10 business cash receipts for BPA.

The level of BPA was astounding. They found between 3,000 and 19,000 micrograms in the 30 centimetre strips. That much BPA is more than 12 times Health Canada's stated limit for a person weighing 60 kilograms or 132 pounds.