|More evidence that BPA laces store receipts|
|Tuesday, 27 July 2010 00:00|
People interested in limiting exposure to bisphenol A - a hormone-mimicking environmental contaminant - might want to consider wearing gloves the next time a store clerk hands over a cash-register receipt. A July 27 report by a public-interest research group has now confirmed many of these receipts have a BPA-rich powdery residue on their surface. But you can't tell which ones on the basis of a visual inspection.
A building block of polycarbonate plastics, bisphenol A is also a biologically active estrogen mimic. Less well known, many thermal- and carbonless-copy papers also employ BPA to print images, generally store receipts.
In animals, fetal exposures to BPA can be especially risky, sometimes fostering brain, behavioral or reproductive problems. Canada and some states are moving to ban polycarbonate plastic in baby bottles for that reason. And heart data suggest that even adult exposures to BPA might cause harm.
A vexing question has been where people are acquiring the BPA that taints nearly everyone's body. Last year, green chemist John Warner argued that his data suggested store receipts could be a - if not the - leading source.
In its own quest to gauge the prevalence of BPA in store receipts, the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group, or EWG, recently commissioned University of Missouri scientists to assay for the chemical in 36 receipts that it had collected from banks, grocery stores and other retailers in the District and seven states (running from Connecticut and Maryland to California and Oregon).
The receipts came from purchases made at places including Safeway, Whole Foods, CVS, Walmart, Chevron, McDonald's, the U.S. Postal Service and cafeterias in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. They also included three fast-food franchises (Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's) located in Japan.