No matter what your age, your best anti-aging and health resource is KNOWLEDGE. By now everyone has heard the study results that toxic BPA is found in 3/4 of the canned food packaging in the U.S. and Canada. But what about BPA in receipts? Yep, some places hand you a BPA laiden receipt with a smile right after you pay for these canned goods containing BPA in the can lining.
BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical that can disrupt the endocrine system in teeny amounts. It’s been linked to a slew of nasty stuff including infertility, cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, behavioral changes in children and low sperm count in men. So NATURALLY someone said “Hey, let’s line canned goods with this chemical (and not put it on the labels) so it leaks out into the food, and hey, why not use it to cover something that is as ubiquitous as receipts.”
In these thermal receipts, ink is not used. Rather, text appears via a color-change induced by heat in a thermal printer. These thermal receipts are given out at restaurants, gas stations, airlines, ATM’s and most retail stores. You might have a thermal receipt if it discolors easily when scratched and if it has a shiny finish to it.
The stinger is that if the paper is not BPA-free, there’s much more BPA on these receipts than are in the lining of canned goods. Now, it’s pretty much a GIVEN that if something comes in contact with our fingers, it’s going to make its way to our mouths. Just THINK — we touch the receipt and then touch our faces, eyes or lips, and even our food, children and pets. I’ve seen people put receipts in their mouths when their hands were full. I’ve even seen A BABY in a grocery cart being handed a receipt and immediately maneuvering it right into their pie hole.
So, while we are frantically seeking out tomatoes packaged in glass containers, maybe it’s time we look at the chemicals being handed to us as a “thank you for shopping.” With over 90% of Americans having BPA in their urine, the GOOD news is, that like BPA in our canned goods, more and more vendors are aware of BPA and its negative effects and are changing over to BPA-free products, including receipts. In the meantime, here are some tips to avoid exposure to BPA in receipts.
Tips to Avoid Exposure To BPA In Receipts
Ask. Kind of a no-brainer, but if you don’t know for sure your fave store favors poison receipts, you just won’t know. Ask your cashier or manager. I’ve asked managers about BPA in cans before and most are helpful, even finding out for you if they personally don’t know. If the answer is yes, we use BPA paper, you can be sure to protect yourself as best as possible until they can get a safer alternative going or you can always choose to shop elsewhere. If it’s a no, they might already be letting you know like HomeGoods does. Makes you happy, huh?
It SHOULD, but (BUZZKILL) Consumer Reports says:
Some manufacturers make “BPA free” thermal paper, but it’s often coated with a chemical called BPS. According to a 2014 report from the EPA, BPS may pose health hazards similar to BPA because the two chemicals are structurally alike and BPS is also easily transferred to skin.
Yikes. So definitely ask, ask, ask. Knowledge is power.
Opt Out. Unless you are thinking of returning an item to the store, you can opt to refuse your receipt – ask the cashier not to print it at all, or ask them to directly place it into one of your bags. If you’re keeping track of spending, you can make note of the amount before saying no thanks.
Get an E-Receipt. Get an electronic receipt emailed to you where ever possible and if you can, see if you are allowed to show your ticket on your phone, as opposed to handling a BPA ticket from an airline for example.
Wash Well. Always wash your hands well after handling receipts and definitely before handling food. Crazily, studies say antibacterial agents seems to ENHANCE the BPA absorption, so don’t use an antibacterial agent and then handle a receipt.
Don’t Place Your Receipt Next To Raw Food/Produce. Never put the receipt in a bag with fresh produce, where the BPA can absorb into your fresh food. You might want to carry an envelope or plastic bag in your purse dedicated for receipts, kinda like your own little quarantine area. You can open your little plastic bag and ask the cashier to drop it in there. She might think you are conducting a crime investigation, but hey, you avoid exposure. Deal with those receipts in your baggie later when you have to, wearing gloves.
Wear Gloves. If you’re a cashier or hostess handling receipts all the time, you can cover up to decrease risk of skin absorption. By gloves, the recommended kind is the kind found in doctor’s offices made of nitrile.
Don’t Recycle Thermal Receipts. You don’t want these receipts going into the recycle bin or your compost pile- just toss BPA thermal receipts so they don’t contaminate other paper products anymore. Sadly, our recycled paper towels have BPA in them due to BPA thermal receipts being recycled into most of our post-consumer paper products. YIKES! It’s also important to not leave your receipts sitting around where a child can get into them and pick them up and…put them in their pie hole.
If you work at a company that gives out receipts or tickets, please ask your manager to switch to a BPA/BPS-free paper or ink receipt system. There’s nothing harmful about INK, right? UGH. Let’s just hope that the BPA and BPS alternatives for cans aren’t BS and more harmful or just as harmful too. Hopefully, labeling is around the corner for BPA and BPS. If not, we need to make it mandatory.
~ It Puts The Receipt In The Baggie,