Some time ago I started posting about our efforts to get the plastic out of our lives. One of the reasons was to avoid BPA, bisphenol-A, which is toxic and is found in water bottles, baby bottles, toys, even the lining of tin cans. All of the drinks in our household now are held only in glass:
- I make coffee in an all-glass vacuum coffee pot (even the filter is glass)
- We keep the second cup warm in a glass-lined thermos
- I carry water to work in a glass bottle that used to hold iced tea
- We heat water in a glass pot
- We buy milk and orange juice in glass
- We store leftovers in glass
So you can imagine my dismay when I learned, just now, that a much, much more serious source of BPA just might be the receipts we get from any purchase we make!
Science News recently published an article, Concerned about BPA: Check your receipts, that is well worth the read. If you thought those baby bottles were bad, how about this:
“When people talk about polycarbonate bottles, they talk about nanogram quantities of BPA [leaching out],” Warner observes. “The average cash register receipt that’s out there and uses the BPA technology will have 60 to 100 milligrams of free BPA.” By free, he explains, it’s not bound into a polymer, like the BPA in polycarbonates. It’s just the individual molecules loose and ready for uptake.
So how does that really translate to our potential exposure to this hormone-mimicking chemical? One commenter on the Science News website puts it this way:
The difference between the nanograms from plastic and milligrams from tapes is a factor of one million! Several million, actually since there’s an other order or two of magnitude in the “60-100” mg. Plus maybe another order of magnitude more because of the loose, unbound molecules on the tape. So the net impact could be up to 1,000,000,000X that from a plastic bottle!
So what are we to do? Well, the title of the article says “check your receipts.” Except that there is nothing about any receipt that will actually indicate whether the thing is loaded with BPA or not. Basically, you just have to stop buying so much stuff. Or not ever need to return it or to justify the expense to the IRS.
Now for just a tad more doom and gloom, read this article, too (especially if you’re pregnant):
Okay, I’m off to do some shopping…