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BPA on Receipts and Most Dollar Bills

BPA on Receipts and Most Dollar Bills

Bisphenol A (BPA) made the news a few months ago after being found on receipts, but a recent report which found that 50 percent of thermal paper receipts contain BPA also found that it is very predominant in paper money as well. According to the report, “On the Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts,” released Wednesday by the Washington Toxics Coalition, BPA was found in 11 of the 22 receipts, and 21 of 22 dollar bills tested.

The chemical–commonly used to strengthen clear, hard plastics, and food can liners–has been shown of to disrupt the hormone systems of animals, and had been found to be highly prevalent in humans. Known as an endocrine disruptor (chemicals that can act like hormones), studies show that BPA can mimic the female hormone estrogen. In 2009 the scientific group, the Endocrine Society, published a 34-page report stating strong evidence of ill health effects from endocrine disruptors, including harm to the reproductive system, causing malformations, infertility and cancer.

Unlike the BPA in plastics, the BPA in paper can rub off on the skin. According to the report, BPA that makes contact with skin easily passes through it.

“We did some rough calculations on how much exposure you could expect to have from receipts if you were to crumple them, and it ended up [similar to] what Americans get from food,” said Erika Schreder, author of the report. “[Exposure from receipts] seems to be in the ballpark of what people thought was the most critical exposure route.”

The worst transference of BPA to the skin came from crumpling a receipt between two fingers and a thumb five times. This sort of crumpling deposited more than 10 times the BPA on the skin as simply holding a receipt between a finger and thumb for 10 seconds.

“On the Money” was conducted in partnership with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of parents, health professionals, environmentalists and businesses concerned with toxic chemicals.

For more information, see:
BPA Found on Cash Register Receipts

Canada Declares BPA to be Toxic
BPA Wrecks Sex

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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11:33AM PST on Jan 18, 2013


8:12AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

why is it on money?

11:00PM PST on Mar 2, 2012

Need gloves to handle anything anymore. :(

10:50PM PST on Mar 2, 2012

Why not do as the Australians, and use polyphrophylene (PP) as the lining for the dollar-bills? PP is a very hard plastic and BPA-free as well...

5:30AM PST on Dec 31, 2010

Thanks for info

10:48AM PST on Dec 23, 2010


7:28AM PST on Dec 23, 2010


5:28AM PST on Dec 23, 2010

How do you avoid thermal paper since it is almost every where like gasoline receipts and ATM receipts?

4:35AM PST on Dec 23, 2010

Thanks for the info

11:01PM PST on Dec 22, 2010

thanx for post

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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