Trader Joe’s announced last week that it will change the receipt paper used to one without bisphenol A (BPA) and Bisphenol S (BPS), two well known endocrine disruptors. Both of these chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, and this decision from Trader Joe’s is in response to the publication of the results of a recent study from Michigan-based Ecology Center that found that 93% of all receipts tested contained BPA or BPS. While Trader Joe’s still sells canned goods with BPA or BPS linings, the company has committed to eliminating it from all store receipts, writing, “Some years back—when concerns related to the use of BPA were starting to build, we evaluated where and how it was being used within our operation and identified steps to take…As our understanding evolves, so too does our work. We are now pursuing receipt paper that is free of phenol chemicals (including BPA and BPS), which we will be rolling out to all stores as soon as possible.”
BPA and BPS are Bad News
BPA and BPS disrupt the endocrine system, leading to issues like diabetes, obesity and fertility problems. BPA, in particular, has been linked to an increased risk of neurological disorders in young children. In 2012, the FDA banned BPA in baby bottles, formula packaging, and children’s cups due to these issues. Other potential health issues from ingesting or absorbing BPA and BPS include breast cancer, brain disease, and heart disease.
How to Find and Avoid BPA and BPS
BPA and BPS are widely found in receipts, some reusable water bottles, luggage tags, and linings for plastic and metal cans. It’s easier to identify BPA-free items, as they are frequently labeled. BPS is less commonly labeled and is a frequent replace of BPA.
Many people suggest looking at the number of the recycling symbol to identify which plastics contain BPA. 4 and 5 seem to be generally regarded as safe for limited use, and there is a debate as to whether 1 or 2 are also safe. But that’s splitting hairs, as all plastics leach into their contents given enough time.
The best way to limit your exposure to BPA and BPS is to choose alternative materials – glass, ceramic, and cardboard. This can actually help you in other ways, as avoiding food in plastic packaging is better for you anyway. Wash your hands after handling any receipts, or ask the cashier to toss it for you.
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- What Trader Joe’s Will Do About The Chemicals On Your Receipts – Forbes
- BPA – Sierra Club
- How BPA May Disrupt Brain Development – Time
- How can I tell what type of plastic something is made of, and if that plastic is safe? – Life Without Plastic