It’s official, we’re now 100% over-exposed to endocrine-disrupting bisphenol A (BPA). We already know about BPA  in canned food products, water bottles, baby bottle, toys and other plastic products and now, a new study by John C. Warner, confirms that BPA can also be found in paper. Paper? Yup – BPA in paper is just one more thing for parents to think about. Super.

The new BPA paper report, published July 28 in Green Chemistry Letters and Reviews, comes just after the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released their research report about finding BPA in 40% of 36 printed receipts. The receipts that EWG tested were collected from fast food restaurants, big retailers, grocery stores, gas stations and post offices in seven states and the District of Columbia.

According to EWG, paper receipts containing BPA were collected from McDonald’s, CVS, KFC, Whole Foods, Walmart, Safeway and the U.S. Postal Service. The Missouri scientists employed by EWG found that “The total mass of BPA on a receipt is 250 to 1,000 times greater than the amount of BPA typically found in a can of food or a can of baby formula, or that which leaches from a BPA-based plastic baby bottle into its contents.

 	 Bisphenol A health,  BPA and fetus,  bpa and pregnancy,  BPA dangers,  BPA fertility,  bpa health study,  BPA in food,  BPA in paper,  Grocery Store Receipts,  paper BPA

Unfortunately, study researchers don’t know how much BPA from a tainted receipt may transfer to the skin and body. The researchers are studying the following possible routes of exposure:

  • Oral exposure: This is when BPA may move from a paper receipt, to your fingers, then into food or directly to your mouth.
  • Dermal exposure: This is when BPA from paper receipts may be directly absorbed through the skin into the body.

Before you panic…

How worried should you be? Is it time to stop shopping, lock up the kids and stay inside forever? Of course not. The fact that BPA has been found in paper shows that BPA is prevalent in the United States, and yes, BPA and other toxins aren’t great for human health, but there’s no reason to panic. BPA on a mass level is nothing new. For example:

BPA is probably already in almost all bodies of humans who lives in the United States. Avoiding shopping, boycotting stores or freaking out won’t accomplish much. The EWG does state that a significant portion of the public may be exposed to BPA via handling receipts, but keep in mind that they also point out that BPA in paper products should not result in policymakers shifting their focus from BPA contaminated food, which is a larger and much more concerning problem with respect to human health.

 	 Bisphenol A health,  BPA and fetus,  bpa and pregnancy,  BPA dangers,  BPA fertility,  bpa health study,  BPA in food,  BPA in paper,  Grocery Store Receipts,  paper BPA

What You Can Do

Still, it’s smart to play it safe. To avoid BPA in paper receipts follow these tips from the EWG:

  • The paper found to contain BPA was thermally treated. You can figure out if paper is thermal by rubbing it with a coin. Thermal paper discolors with the friction; conventional paper does not.
  • Minimize receipt collection by declining receipts at gas pumps, ATMs and other machines when possible.
  • Keep paper receipts separate from other items in your wallet or purse.
  • Don’t allow kids to hold or play with receipts.
  • After handling a receipt, wash your hands before preparing food – hopefully you’re doing this anyway!

Limit BPA Exposure Overall

The best way to stay healthy is to limit your family’s overall BPA exposure. It’s most important to limit your exposure to the most common products containing BPA. For example, purchase fresh food, not canned food products. Buy BPA-free baby bottles for your baby and BPA-free reusable water bottles for everyone else in the family. You can also find plenty of BPA-free toys and BPA-free toothbrushes.

+ Source: EWG

[Grocery store image via Flickr; Gas station receipt image via Flickr]