How many receipts do you have in your purse or wallet? How many are around your home? Paper receipts are an important way to track spending or keep proof of purchase, but did you know they can also contain chemicals of concern?
Thermal Receipts, BPA and BPS
Most receipts are produced by thermal printers – heat activates a coating on the paper to create the image. On most receipt paper, this coating contains the chemicals BPA or BPS. As part of a group of substances known as ‘forever chemicals’, Bisphenol-A and Bisphenol-S have been linked to hormone disruption and other health issues.
In fact, Health Canada has declared BPA "toxic" because of reproductive and developmental toxicity and environmental effects.1 In the years since, BPA has been largely phased out from food packaging and products. But it is still widely used in receipt paper.
Can you really absorb chemicals from a receipt?
Canada’s Environmental Defense Fund recently studied BPA levels in individuals simulating a cashier handling receipts. The study found that by merely touching receipts for the same amount of time that a cashier does in a shift, BPA and BPS levels increased significantly.2
The situation may be even more unsettling for cashiers and workers that are women of childbearing age and teenagers as they are more biologically vulnerable to the effects of BPA and BPS.
Go Phenol-Free With EcoChit
Encouraging businesses to use thermal receipt paper without phenols (BPA or BPS) is a great way to address the toxic receipt issue. EcoChit receipt paper is 100% phenol-free, and made from sustainably-sourced paper, tested and recommended by major POS machine manufacturers. If you are a business that uses receipts, switch to EcoChit today. And ask your favourite retailers to make the switch to phenol-free EcoChit receipts.
If it’s not EcoChit, handle with care!
Until the world makes phenol-free receipts a priority, it’s a good idea to take precautions.
The Environmental Defense Fund article recommends folding receipts with the print/glossy side in and holding them from the backside – the part of the receipt not coated with BPA or BPS. Do not use hand sanitizers or lotions while handling receipts, and afterwards, wash your hands thoroughly, especially before eating.