Bank receipts may expose customers to toxic chemical: Thermal paper used linked to fertility problems and can affect children’s brain development.
Bank receipts may expose people to bisphenol A (BPA), says a new study
Handling receipts printed on thermal paper increased BPA concentrations
But those who wore gloves to hold paper experienced no significant rise
BPA exposure previously linked to fertility and infants’ brain development
Chemical is also found in hard plastic, like babies’ bottles, and tinned food.
Human exposure to BPA has been previously linked with health concerns, including an adverse impact on reproductive function in adults and brain development in children.
BPA is used in clear, hard plastic such as babies’ bottles, the lining of canned food, but it is also used in thermal receipt paper, which is handled daily by many people at locations, such as supermarkets, bank machines and petrol stations.
The coating, which is heat sensitive, can be transferred to skin with handling, according to the study published in the health journal JAMA.
Doctor Shelley Ehrlich, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre in the United States, and her colleagues examined the effect of handling thermal receipts on urine BPA levels.
They recruited 24 volunteers who provided urine samples before and after handling – with or without gloves – receipts printed on thermal paper for a continuous two hours.
BPA was detected in 83 per cent of urine samples at the beginning of the study and in 100 per cent of samples after handling receipts without gloves.
The researchers observed an increase in urinary BPA concentrations after continuously handling receipts for two hours without gloves, but no significant increase when the participants used gloves.
The clinical implications of the height of the peak level and of chronic exposure are unknown, according to the researchers.
However, they may be particularly relevant to people exposed via their jobs, such as cashiers who handle receipts 40 or more hours per week.
Dr Ehrlich added: ‘A larger study is needed to confirm our findings and evaluate the clinical implications.’
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