When it comes to BPA, check your receipts

For more than 20 years, scientists have proven the harmful effects of bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen that shows up on many cash register receipts as a powdery substance. And now French scientists recently discovered that your skin provides no barrier.

The recent study, posted online October 27 in the journal Chemosphere, was conducted by the National Institute for Agricultural Research in France. Its Toulouse-based team used ears from newly killed pigs at a slaughterhouse to mimic human skin. They discovered that even low concentrations of BPA, such as what would rub off onto your hands from handling receipt paper, can pass through the skin.

A team from University of Missouri-Columbia in the US is now launching a human volunteer study measuring how much BPA people get on their hands from handling receipt paper and whether or not BPA then shows up in blood and urine. Data might be available by the end of the year.

If you have been living in Europe or the US it is highly probable that you have BPA in your system as 90% of Europeans and Americans have detectable amounts.

Plus 3,175 million tons of BPA are produced annually, and BPA ends up in a number of consumer goods including polycarbonate plastic products (reusable water bottles, sippy cups, leftover containers, baby bottles, toys), the lining of canned foods, baby formula and beverages, pizza boxes, and other fast food containers.

Here are some tips to limit your BPA exposure:

- Try to stay away from receipts (sometimes they can be emailed) and carbonless paper. If you handle a large amount of receipts, wash your hands often and try wearing gloves.
- Avoid drinking canned sodas or beers.
- Opt for bottled waters and other plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom and avoid those with PC or #7.
- Do not microwaves plastics.

Meanwhile, paper receipt stock companies are responding with more serious moves to cut the BPA from their products. For example, Appleton Papers, the leading producer of receipt stock in the US (which claims to be BPA-free since 2006), is ramping up a new product that consumers can easily identify as BPA-free. The company told website Science News that it hopes to have the new product available by the holiday shopping season.

To access the latest BPA study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V74-51B8G40-1&_user=10&_coverDate=10%2F27%2F2010&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=38595c11c1a0739b8bdf975b482deb7f&searchtype=a

 

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