Thermal paper receipts are coated with a chemical called Bisphenol A, BPA which is believed to have adverse effects on human health. After a vigorous research, scientists have concluded that Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor which can be absorbed through the skin.
Bisphenol A’s usage has been banned in many manufacturing processes. Most prominently in baby sip cups and bottles. It has also been banned in manufacturing of food containers and water bottles. But, apart from this, it is commonly known to be used in cash receipts and registers. Bisphenol A rubs off easily from thermal paper, hence excessive handling of these papers a pose a threat to human health. A single receipt of thermal paper contains more BPA than a plastic water bottle that has been used for many years claimed green chemistry scientists at the Warner Babcock Institute.
Research has suggested that the adverse effects or ailments caused by BPA includes development of abnormalities during reproductive and brain formation and high risks of prostate and breast cancer. These ailments are caused due to its ability of mimicking biological activity of estrogen. Developing children are most prone to get affected by BPA if came in contact. Higher estrogen levels in men and women adversely affects endocrine and reproductive systems. The level of BPA found in American children and adults is over 90%. Higher level of BPA only signifies hyperactivity, impaired learning, inflammation, obesity, diabetes and heart, kidney and liver dysfunction. Men are more critically affected with higher level of estrogen that results in poor sperm quality, fluctuating sex hormone concentration and reduced libido. In women it leads to high risks of breast cancer, infertility, polycytic ovarian syndrome and premature delivery. Women are more susceptible to the BPA present in receipts.
Even if a person is not necessarily handling cash receipts, they are still prone to getting affected by BPA. This is because this chemical is present in various other type of receipts and slips made out of thermal paper. These receipts include our movie tickets, boarding passes, labels and packaging material as well. Thermal paper can be easily identified. If scratched on the printed side, the scratched area appears darker. This is due to the BPA contains in the paper. If at all a manufacturer is not using BPA in making the thermal, they use another chemical named BPS, Bisphenol S. Biophenols are easily absorbed by human skin through skin molecules. Looking at the adverse effects BPA has on human body, there are certain precautions that can be taken while handling it. These set of precautions are given by The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
- One needs to remember that if scratched, it gets discolored.
- It is OK not to receive a receipt for every transaction.
- Retailers need to go for paperless receipts. They can be easily sent via a text message or an email.
- While handling receipts one can touch the non-glossy side that contains less BPA.
- BPA can rub off on everything. Hence, its proper storage is very important.
- One needs to wash or sanitize their hands immediately after touching any receipts.
- Cashiers should wear latex gloves to avoid constant contact with the receipts.