Friday, April 1, 2011

Is Shopping Dangerous to Your Health?

The recent press regarding BPA exposure is much needed and long overdue.  However, did you know that people are regularly exposed to BPA in the coating of a powdery film on cash register, bank and gas station receipts?  This powder rubs off onto your fingers and is absorbed by the body.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that in some cases, the amount of BPA on receipts can be as much as 1000 times the amount found in the lining of a can of food.
What can you do? If you do handle receipts, wear gloves or wash your hands immediately with a cleanser that does not contain alcohol (alcohol improves absorption).  However, washing is not always a convenient option as vendors do not put sinks by registers, and anything you touch before you can clean it off will be contaminated.  The best remedy is for all retailers, banks, etc. to be required to use BPA-free thermal paper for their receipts.  Many retailers are already doing this and some department stores will even email you a receipt if you request that option.  Hopefully the government will catch on and make this mandatory, but in the meantime, please refuse to accept receipts; you really don’t need most of them anyway.

Elyn Jacobs

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