BPA on Dollar Bills and Cash Register Receipts

Did you know that Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that is banned in baby bottles, is found on dollar bills and cash register receipts printed on thermal paper?!?

Most cash register receipts that contain BPA have a shiny filmy texture that a person can write on with their fingernail. Paper makers use it because it is cost-effective.

When you touch dollar bills or cash register receipts that have BPA on it, the BPA can rub off onto your hands. If you don’t wash your hands before you touch food you are going to eat, you just ate some BPA.

What is Bisphenol A (BPA) Anyway??

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

BPA Exposure

Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. BPA is also present in:

  • Hard plastic bottles.
  • Some plastic wraps.
  • Some plastic food containers.
  • Lined in tin cans on a variety of canned foods like soup and soda because BPA preserves the shelf life of canned goods.
  • Compact discs.
  • Impact-resistant safety equipment.
  • Medical devices.
  • Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes.
  • Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.

BPA Can Cause Harm in Your Body

  • BPA has been linked to hyperactivity.
  • BPA has been linked to obesity.
  • BPA has been linked to lower testosterone and sperm production.
  • BPA has been linked to cancer.
  • BPA has been linked to birth defects
  • BPA has been linked to impaired brain development and cause behavioral changes in children.
  • BPA has been linked to heart disease.
  • BPA has been linked to diabetes.
  • BPA has been linked to ADD.

To Reduce Exposure and/or Avoid BPA

  • Refuse receipts when you can, or always wash your hands after handling receipts and money. Keep receipts away from small children.
  • Eat fresh food. Choose fresh produce or frozen over canned foods.
  • Buy canned goods with a “BPA-free” stamp on the label.
  • Avoid baby bottles and kids toys that contain BPA. A number 7 on the bottom may mean it’s made with BPA. Use glass baby bottles and paper cups. Use baby bottles that are BPA free. Many companies are now making BPA-free products.
  • Avoid plastics with the numbers 3, 6, and 7 on the bottom.
  • Never heat plastic in the microwave, even if it says it is microwave safe. Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a 7 on the bottom.
  • Use reusable glass thermoses or stainless steel containers for water storage, for carrying drinking water, or particularly for hot food or liquids.
  • Drink real tap water when available.

Concern over potential harm from BPA is highest for young children, because their bodies are early in development and have immature systems for detoxifying chemicals. Adults and older children should follow reasonable food preparation practices to reduce exposure to BPA. The National Institutes of Health is supporting additional studies to better understand BPA and adults.

Connecticut passed a law banning receipts containing BPA.

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