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Consumer Alert: More Than 90% of Receipts Contain Toxic Chemicals


Many items we encounter every day expose us to chemicals and toxins, including everything from your cleaning products to unsafe plastic containers and foam takeout containers. And now, we can add checkout counter receipts to the ever-growing list.

A new study found 93 percent of the receipts tested contained bisphenol A (BPA) or the related chemical bisphenol S (BPS). After touching a receipt, the can be absorbed into the blood stream within minutes.

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Why Are BPA and BPS Harmful?

BPA disrupts the human endocrine system by mimicking body substances like estrogen and thyroid hormone. Studies associate BPA exposure to an array of adverse health effects such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, obesity, ADHD, heart disease, behavior problems in children and diabetes. Even low doses can be toxic.

After evidence of the of BPA emerged, BPS was developed to take its place; however, scientists now believe BPS is just as harmful. One reason the chemicals are worrisome is because they’re hard to avoid. Hard plastic water bottles, canned goods and some baby products are made with BPA, while personal care products are typically made with BPS. Due to concerns over the exposure of babies to BPA, it has been banned from sippy cups and baby bottles in the U.S.

How Does Handling the Receipts Cause Exposure?

Earlier research shows BPS is present in the urine of 81 percent of people in the U.S., and in the vast majority of these cases, exposure can be traced to receipts. When BPA and BSA are added to receipts, they aren’t bound to the paper; therefore, the chemicals transfer easily to anything that comes in contact with them, including a person’s hand, groceries in a shopping cart and money in a wallet. Handling the receipts briefly leads to significant absorption into the body. Sources of exposure aren’t confined to checkout receipts but also include items such as movie tickets and boarding passes. When the hands are moist due to the use of hand lotion or hand sanitizers, the chemicals are absorbed much faster.

Receipts from Broad Scope of Retailers Contain Chemicals

In the new study, scientists from the Healthy Stuff program at Ann Arbor’s Ecology Center tested paper receipts from 150 businesses that included grocery stores, big-box stores, drug stores, gas stations, restaurants and libraries. BPA was found in 18 percent of the receipts, and BPS was found in 75 percent.

Are alternatives to toxic receipts available? Two options are digital receipts and receipts made of phenol-free paper. Culver’s Restaurants use receipt paper that has no coating, and Best Buy receipts contain a chemical called Pergafast 201, which is considered less toxic than BPA and BPS. Trader Joe’s announced that it would be switching to phenol-free receipts in their stores as soon as possible.

How to Reduce Your Toxin Exposure

Daily Mail provides the researchers’ recommendations below for reducing your exposure:

  • Request retailers to switch to phenol-free receipt paper.
  • Ask for digital receipts. If you must accept a receipt, fold it so that the non-printed side, which isn’t normally coated, comes in contact with your hands.
  • Don’t put the receipts in the recyclable bin because they will contaminate the products made with recyclables like towel paper and toilet paper.
  • Wash your hands after touching receipts.
  • Keep an envelope in your purse or wallet to hold you receipts, so they won’t rub against your money.
  • Cashiers are especially at risk, so they should wear gloves and avoid putting their hands in their mouth.


Mary West is a enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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