BPA sticker shock: people pick up chemical from sales receipts

03/05/2014

Tucked neatly into the Bayer MaterialScience press kit that I picked up at last month's MD&M West 2014 event in Anaheim, CA, was a two-page backgrounder on Bisphenol A (BPA). The document summarizes various government research studies that support the chemical's safety in the human population. Bayer MaterialScience is a leading supplier of polycarbonate, so it's hard to argue altruism here, but its claim that "the overwhelming volume of scientific evidence supports the use of BPA in our manufacturing process and in our products" is sound.

New evidence that sows doubt in the court of public opinion, however, keeps being submitted. To wit: a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association on February 26, 2014, documents human exposure to BPA through sales and ATM receipts printed on thermal paper.

For the study, a small cohort of participants handled receipts printed on thermal paper with and without gloves. Continuously handling the receipts without hand protection for two hours resulted in an increase in urinary BPA concentrations.
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