WASHINGTON - You've probably heard of the concern raised over bisphenol A, or BPA, in products like baby bottles and cans of food, but now high levels of it are showing up in something else: cash register receipts.
Recently, a consumer group did its own testing and found BPA levels on receipts 1,000 times the level found in a can of food.
The Environmental Working Group says 40 percent of the receipts they had tested had substantial amounts of BPA.
For more on this story, watch Live On 5 at 5 p.m. today for a full report or check back later on newsnet5.com.
NewsChannel5 got some answers from a man who teaches chemistry at Cleveland State University, Robert Wei, Ph.D.
"I was surprised.. I mean that’s a lot of BPA," he said.
Dr. Wei said BPA has many uses as a plastic hardener and said the evidence doesn't really show a substantial risk in products like bottles and cans.
But the way it's used on receipts, is a different story. He believes its use should be, at the very least, restricted.
"I feel that they should whenever possible, they should replace it with a kind of papers that do not contain the BPA," he said.
In animals, BPA has been linked to serious health problems and when the Washington-based Environmental Working Group analyzed receipts, it found BPA on 40 percent of receipts from places like the U.S. Post Office, CVS, KFC, McDonalds and even the ultra health conscious Whole Foods.
Starbucks and Target receipts showed only trace amounts or no BPA.
How do you know if a receipt has BPA?
You can’t know for sure if you’re handling a receipt with BPA. Nor does anyone really know yet what the actual risk is.
"We just have too many man-made chemicals for which we know little about," Dr. Wei said.
He recommends that if you work at a register and handle receipts regularly, use latex gloves.
For the rest of us, who handle receipts only occasionally, wash your hands with soap and water, not hand sanitizer. Dr. Wei said hand sanitizer allows the your skin to absorb the BPA more quickly.
He adds, never allow children to play with receipts, because there is evidence that BPA can interfere with their development.
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