Sunday, May 9, 2010

BPA Lurking Where You'd Never Think to Look

Many parents are taking steps to limit their family's exposure to BPA, worried by studies showing its potentially harmful effects. Since BPA is most commonly a plastic additive, that's where the focus has been, on plastics; particularly food containers and baby toys, where the chemical might leach out of plastics and be ingested. Yet it's important to note that the chemical can also be absorbed through the skin.

As such, there's a newly discovered and unlikely culprit in the battle against BPA: cash receipts. According to early data from the Warner Babcok Institute for Green Chemistry in Wilmington, Massachusetts, cash register and credit card receipts are one of the most toxic sources of BPA. Spot checks typically turn up between 60 and 100 milligrams of BPA per receipt--a level well above what has been found to leach from PCB plastic food ware. "The biggest (BPA) exposures, in my opinion, will be these cash register receipts," says the institute's co-founder John C. Warner.

What is this world coming to? You can't even choose between paper and plastic anymore. It's important to note that we still know little about which forms of exposure are the worst, so we don't know if touching higher amounts on paper might cause less of an exposure than ingesting lower amounts through our food. So it's probably not necessary as of yet to say you should bring gloves to the grocery store, although pregnant women should avoid contact as much as possible.

You can read more on this topic with our article: “The BPA Debate: Are Plastics Poisoning Your Children?” available on our website.

Reference for quote:
1. Janet Raloff, "BPA in womb linked to childhood behavior," Science News, Vol. 176(10): 12, Nov. 7 2009

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