BPA found on dollar bills, receipts

Dec. 8, 2010 at 12:01 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Two groups researching BPA, a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to serious health problems, say it's been found on dollar bills and cash register receipts.

The study -- released Wednesday by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition and the Washington Toxics Coalition -- says bisphenol A, implicated in cancer, infertility and early puberty, can rub off of receipts onto bills and be absorbed by the skin, a release said.

Thermal paper commonly used in receipts contains BPA that isn't chemically bound in any way, the report says. Free BPA in a powdery film on receipts easily transfers to skin and other items that it rubs against.

Researchers collected receipt paper from major U.S. retailers including Home Depot, Walmart, Safeway and Costco, and also tested paper currency from a total of 18 states and Washington.

Although BPA levels detected on currency were much lower than on receipt paper, the almost universal presence of BPA on dollar bills underscores the fact that even an informed consumer would have a hard time escaping exposure, the study says.

The groups urge Congress to make a reform and updating of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act a top legislative priority, and say a new law should consider the effects of multiple exposures and multiple chemicals.

Traditional methods of assessment that evaluate risk from single chemical exposures do not work in a world exposed to BPA from food cans, water bottles, receipts, and even money, the organizations say.

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