Mobsters, oil barons and politicians aren't the only ones who handle dirty money.
Some, in fact, might be in your wallet right now.
A new investigative report by two non-profits finds that everyday cash transactions involve the transfer of not only dollar bills, but also the infamous hormone-disruptor BPA (bisphenol A), which has been linked to infertility, early puberty and cancer.
The main culprit is cash register receipts. Their lab testing found that the thermal receipt paper used by many stores contains a powdery BPA film on the surface—this is even more dangerous, the researchers say, than BPA in baby bottles, soup cans and other products in which the carcinogenic chemical is bound into a hard surface.
The investigation, done by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition and the Washington Toxics Coalition found large quantities of BPA in 11 of the 22 receipts from different retailers across the nation, including Safeway, Shaw’s, Meijer, Cub Foods, Sunoco, Kroger, Giant Eagle, H-E-B, Randalls, and Fred Meyer. Safeway had the highest levels.
These groups are calling for the next Congress to pass long overdue reforms to the desperately inadequate Toxic Substances Control Act. Ironically, the testing also revealed that our nation's leaders are exposed to toxic receipts in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria.
Let's demand that some of these retailers, including the operator of the House of Representatives cafeteria, commit to switching to BPA-free receipt paper.
Sign this petition to demand that these outlets act to protect their customers from the health implications of BPA exposure by using BPA-free receipts.
Image credit: Steve Snodgrass via Flickr
The testing collected receipts from 22 major retail outlets across the country. Eleven of those, including Safeway, Shaw’s, Meijer, Cub Foods, Sunoco, Kroger, Giant Eagle, H-E-B, Randalls, Fred Meyer, contained BPA in alarmingly large amounts. Safeway had the highest levels. The testing also revealed that receipts from the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria also contained high levels of BPA.
BPA has been linked to higher rates of early puberty, infertility, and cancer, and is often found in everyday products. But while a consumer can try to proactively avoid plastics that contain BPA, it is harder for a consumer to avoid everyday cash transactions. What's scary is that the investigation also found that BPA on receipts is easily transferred both to the skin, and to paper currency that people handle.
There are alternatives to BPA receipt paper. EPA lists thirteen alternative chemicals, and 11 other outlets, including Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot, gave out receipts that contained no BPA. I ask that you publicly commit to switching to BPA-free receipt paper.
While it will be hard to reduce the public's exposure to BPA without larger-scale reforms, momentum will come if individual outlets take a stand and phase-out their BPA products for the safety of their customers and our nation's leaders. That starts with you. Thank you,