The hormone-mimicking chemical bisphenol A is ubiquitous in cash-register receipts in the United States, according to new research. Other paper products, such as envelopes and newspapers, also frequently contain the compound, the study found. As a result, the authors conclude, people are routinely exposed to BPA through their skin, albeit at levels lower than through diet.
In animal studies, researchers have found that BPA can disrupt the reproductive system and increase the risk of certain cancers, but debate continues over whether the levels found in human beings cause health problems. Some manufacturers use a powdery form of the substance to coat cash-register receipts, where it acts as a color developer.
… When [researchers] tested 83 receipts from seven U.S. cities, they detected BPA in all of them – even the ones labeled “BPA-free.”
… The researchers also tested 99 samples of other paper products, such as toilet paper, newspapers, and airplane boarding passes. They found that 80 of the samples contained BPA. Those samples probably were recycled paper contaminated by BPA-coated receipts.
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