Could Shopping be Hazardous to Your Health?
Greetings from Dr. Thorburn:
Receipts from cash registers, gas pumps and ATMs are coated with the chemical BPA and it can be readily introduced into the bloodstream through the skin. Unlike BPA in plastic bottles and other products, BPA on thermal cash register paper isn’t chemically bound in any way: it’s a powdery film on the surface of receipts that easily transfers to skin and other things it touches. Hand lotions, oils and sanitizers can speed up the absorption process.
R. Thomas Zoeller Ph.D., co-chair of the Endocrine Society’s Global Task Force on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, states that handling receipts can be harmful to your health. Endocrine disruptors such as BPA are chemicals that act like hormones in the body and may affect fertility and cause developmental defects.
According to a study by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG), some major chains including Target, Starbucks, and Bank of America ATM’s issue receipts that are BPA-free or only contain trace amounts. Major retailers using BPA-containing receipts in at least some outlets include McDonalds, CVS, KFC, Whole Foods, Walmart, Safeway and the U.S. Postal Service.
Here are some tips from the EWG on the safe handling of 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 (a universally recommended practice even for those who have not handled receipts).
• Do not use alcohol-based hand cleaners after handling receipts. A recent study showed that these products can increase the skin’s BPA absorption (Biedermann 2010).
• Take advantage of store services that email or archive paperless purchase records.
• Do not recycle receipts and other thermal paper. BPA residues from receipts will contaminate recycled paper.
• If you are unsure, check whether paper is thermally treated by rubbing it with a coin. Thermal paper discolors with the friction; conventional paper does not.
Until next time…
Yours in health,
Thorburn Chiropractic and Wellness Center
A Winner of the Top Doc L.A. Award
Increasing Health & Vitality for Over 30 Years
1612 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506
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