2012 E-News

Till receipts are a potential source of exposure to the controversial chemical.

Daniel Cressey

Thermal paper used in till receipts is a source of BPA.iStockphoto.com/ M. FlippoTwo studies have thrown the controversial compound bisphenol A (BPA) back into the limelight. One study found that the chemical is readily absorbed through the skin, while a second study found that people who routinely touch BPA-laden till receipts have higher than average levels of the chemical in their bodies. Taken together, the findings strengthen calls for tougher regulation of the chemical, which is widely used in plastics manufacturing.

BPA is detectable in most people in Western countries. Animal studies have confirmed that high doses are harmful, but some evidence that it may also be harmful at low doses has yet to convince regulators to take decisive action against the compound.

The chemical mimics the effects of oestrogen in the body, so health concerns are especially pressing for pregnant women and some scientists also advise against the use of babies' bottles that contain BPA.

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