Consumers now have a new study to be concerned about. Bisphenol A, or BPA,is a chemical product linked to a number of adverse health events, used in a variety of products handled by consumers on a day to day basis including water bottles, dental composites and in thermal paper cash register receipts.
A study conducted by the University of Missouri revealed that handling cash register receipts accounted for high levels of BPA in humans. Tests revealed a rapid increase in BPA levels when cash receipts were handled after using a skin care product. The researchers tested human subjects who cleaned their hands with hand sanitizer and then held thermal paper receipts. Additionally, subjects who had handled the thermal paper then ate French fries with their hands
“BPA first was developed by a biochemist and tested as an artificial estrogen supplement,” said Frederick vom Saal, Curators Professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU. “As an endocrine disrupting chemical, BPA has been demonstrated to alter signaling mechanisms involving estrogen and other hormones. Store and fast food receipts, airline tickets, ATM receipts and other thermal papers all use massive amounts of BPA on the surface of the paper as a print developer. The problem is, we as consumers have hand sanitizers, hand creams, soaps and sunscreens on our hands that drastically alter the absorption rate of the BPA found on these receipts.”
“Our research found that large amounts of BPA can be transferred to your hands and then to the food you hold and eat as well as be absorbed through your skin,” vom Saal said. “BPA exhibits hormone-like properties and has been proven to cause reproductive defects in fetuses, infants, children and adults as well as cancer, metabolic and immune problems in rodents. BPA from thermal papers will be absorbed into your blood rapidly; at those levels, many diseases such as diabetes and disorders such as obesity increase as well. Use of BPA or other similar chemicals that are being used to replace BPA in thermal paper pose a threat to human health.”
Annette M. Hormann, Frederick S. vom Saal, Susan C. Nagel, Richard W. Stahlhut, Carol L. Moyer, Mark R. Ellersieck, Wade V. Welshons, Pierre-Louis Toutain, Julia A. Taylor. Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphenol A (BPA). PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (10): e110509 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110509