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New York, March 29 – Do you frequently handle purchase receipts while buying groceries from stores or taking out money from ATMs? Beware, the receipts carry an under-recognised source of hormone-disrupting chemicals in our bodies, finds a report.
According to the Ecology Center, a US non-profit working for environmental health, receipt papers contain high concentrations of bisphenols, particularly bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS) — linked to reproductive harm.
For their report, they tested 374 receipts from 144 major chain stores in 22 US states and the District of Columbia.
The most common were grocery stores, restaurants, department stores, drugstores, and gas stations, among others. They found about 80 per cent receipts had the presence of bisphenol (BPS or BPA).
“Receipts are a common exposure route for hormone-disrupting bisphenols which readily absorb through the skin. Our studies show most retailers use bisphenol-coated receipt paper,” Melissa Cooper Sargent, environmental health advocate at the Ecology Center of Michigan, said in a statement.
“Switching to non-toxic paper is an easy shift. We urge retailers to stop handing out chemical-laced paper to their consumers and putting employees at risk,” she added.
The report also showed safer chemical alternatives such as BPS in 20 per cent of receipts.
However, the researchers said while BPS is marketed as a safer replacement for BPA, both are endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to health issues, including cancer.
Besides consumers, people working at these stores could be more at risk because their “potential exposure to endocrine disrupting BPS or BPA is constant”, the report said.
The report called on retailers to protect their “customers and employees by removing bisphenols from receipt paper”, and also to stop “printing receipts altogether and offer a digital receipt option”.