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Warning: Recycling Your Old Receipts Is Contaminating Paper with BPA

Posted By Brit Liggett On October 31, 2011 @ 12:09 pm In Design for Health,News,Recycled Materials | 5 Comments

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The Inhabitat team is about to do something we’d never thought we’d do. We’re going to advise you to stop recycling something that is fully recyclable: thermal cash register receipts [1]. It turns out that the ubiquitous receipts — the kind you find at most major department stores, grocery stores, bank machines etc. — contain the nasty cancer causing chemical Bisphenol A [2] or BPA for short. When you recycle the receipts, the BPA that they contain gets tangled up in the paper pulp and then contaminates the recycled paper napkins, toilet paper, plates and cups that come out on the other end of the process.

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Manufacturers create at least 8 billion pounds of BPA ¬†- which is generally used to make the kind of clear, shatterproof plastic that is used in water bottles – each year.¬†Unfortunately it is also found in some baby bottles [3] and canned food [4] among other things. BPA is a known endocrine disrupter that has been linked to some cancers — including breast cancer and prostate cancer — obesity, type 2 diabetes, Neuroblastoma and some neurological disorders.

BPA is used in thermal cash register receipt paper to coat receipts and act as a receiver for printer ink. So when you cash out at the grocery store after buying those beautiful organic apples for your thanksgiving pie, the BPA from the receipt goes right onto your hand. Then you throw it in the recycling bin and it goes right back into the paper cycle system. The researchers who conducted this study found that 94% of receipts tested had BPA on them, and the only exceptions were from Japan, where BPA was phased out in 2001 [5]. So, when possible, leave that receipt behind and if it isn’t possible, make sure to wash your hands and whatever you do, don’t recycle those contaminated receipts.

Via Science Daily [6]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/warning-recycling-your-old-receipts-is-contaminating-paper-with-bpa/

URLs in this post:

[1] thermal cash register receipts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_paper

[2] Bisphenol A: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A

[3] baby bottles: http://www.inhabitots.com/bpa-ban-on-baby-bottles-and-sippy-cups-approved-in-california/

[4] canned food: http://www.inhabitots.com/high-levels-of-bpa-found-in-campbells-and-other-canned-kids-foods/

[5] BPA was phased out in 2001: http://www.ewg.org/node/20938

[6] Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122406.htm

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