Did you know there’s a specific kind of paper that can be disastrous to your health?

Chances are you touch this kind of paper on a daily basis. Some of the known and confirmed side effects of touching the chemicals this paper contains include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate disease and cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Immune system disorders

The chemicals this paper contains also disrupt your endocrine system – your body’s hormonal system responsible for secreting growth hormone, thyroid hormone and other hormones that stimulate testosterone and estrogen.

The kind of paper I’m talking about is receipt paper.

Many store receipts use thermal paper that’s coated in bisphenol A (BPA), to help the ink from the printer develop onto the receipt itself. The problem is, this coating doesn’t “stick” to the paper.

You’ve probably experienced this with the receipts you  put in your wallet or pocket… they fade out or the ink on certain parts is completely gone, making it unreadable.

This is a problem because when you handle a receipt, that same BPA coating gets onto your skin. And based on exhaustive research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the BPA can go deep enough into the skin that it cannot be washed off. [1]

According to the same research by the EWG, most stores use this kind of BPA-coated receipt paper. What’s worse, the amount of BPA found on the paper is 250 – 1,000 times MORE than what you would find in a plastic bottle or soda can lining!

This same body of research (from the EWG) discovered that your body absorbs up to 60% of the BPA that you get on your skin. Pretty scary stuff!

So what can you do about it?

For starters, start forgoing the receipts on small items, or on items you don’t plan on returning or exchanging.

Next, handle your receipts as little as possible. Have a small pocketbook, wallet or purse where you can put them immediately. Alternatively, many stores nowadays will email you a receipt if you request (depends on what you’re purchasing).

Finally, always wash your hands as soon as possible after handling receipts in the hopes that the BPA hasn’t absorbed into the skin yet. Make sure this is also a habit before preparing food, so you don’t continue contaminating yourself.

If you’re in a rush, you might be tempted to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after handling receipts. Don’t. Doing so only INCREASES the absorption of BPA in the skin. One more thing – never let your children play with receipts. The effects of BPA on children are highly detrimental.

So next time you go to the store, skip the receipt… because now you know better!


References:  [1] http://www.ewg.org/bpa-in-store-receipts