photo credits: netchris

According to this article, thermal paper that’s used on cash register receipts contain 100x more BPA (Bisphenol-A,) than the most dreaded hard plastic wares such as baby bottles, water bottles and canned goods. 

What is BPA? 

BPA is an abbreviation used for Bisphenol A. It’s used in making synthetic resin and polycarbonate plastics. It is bad for the system because it acts as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can mimic the body’s normal hormone which could lead to undesirable health effects specially for fetuses, infants and young children. Recently the US FDA started to acknowledge the potential threat of BPA which could lead to neurological diseases, breast cancer and more. 

Plastic you say, but why is BPA on the receipt?

The thermal paper used in receipts need a color developer which is BPA. 

So you ask how could BPA be transferred from a paper to your system or your child’s system?  

I can think of a few things:

1. After handling the receipt, you put your hands on your mouth. 
2. You use alcohol to disinfect. Shocked? Well, it has been said that alcohol increases the absorption rate of BPA from our skin to our system
3. You allow your child to play with the receipt and the child puts his hands on his mouth 
4. The child can easily swallow the paper when left unattended 

How do you know the receipt has BPA?

Scratch the paper and if it discolors(usually black), it has BPA. 

How do we protect ourselves from thermally treated receipts?

1. If you are saving the receipt, make sure you store them on separate purse
2. Wash hands after holding the receipt
3. Don’t let your child play with the receipt in any way
4. Maybe request for a conventional paper instead? 

It’s really upto you how you will protect yourself and your family from BPA. While it is true that BPA has been with us for over 50 years now but personally, knowing that technology changes each day, it’s not impossible that BPA content on today’s plastic wares are 10x (or more) more than what they used 50 or so years ago. 

I wouldn’t want to risk my family’s health just because I didn’t avoid the unavoidable.