BPA in Receipts: Have We Gone Over the Edge in Worrying?

Many Americans have come to the point where they agree that bisphenol-a (BPA) is probably something worth avoiding in food containers.  It’s no longer a leap of faith when current research keeps churning out evidence of gender-bending effects, such as increased aggression in toddler girls after exposure to BPA during pregnancy.

But now we’re hearing about BPA lurking in the most surprising places:

And now we’re learning that carbonless credit card receipts may be the largest single source of BPA yet.  Which leads us to ask the question: are we verging on hysteria in worrying this much about BPA?

In my opinion, no.  When a single chemical is produced in such massive quantities (6 billion pounds per year!), we are remiss if we don’t worry about widespread human exposure from its use and subsequent occurrence in our environment. We’re no longer talking about avoiding a baby bottle here and there – we’re talking about chronic exposure to an endocrine disrupting chemical on a very large scale from multiple sources:  air, food, household dust, physical contact and water.

How do you feel about our current state of concern?  Have we lost our minds and given in to an irrational fear?

UPDATE 7/28/10: Can BPA be absorbed through the skin?  It’s beginning to look like the answer is YES.  Read more HERE.

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  • Mkokopelli

    I don't think it's an irrational fear. So many women are having problems conceiving, young girls are maturing earlier, more children are getting cancer and other illnesses and we wonder why…. I think it's great that research is being done to find out what toxic junk is in our commonly used products and it explains why more health problems are arising. We can't avoid everything that is toxic, but we can make better choices by learning and informing others.

  • Lisa

    The fear is not irrational at all. Any chemical that is this pervasive- and has been shown to create this many problems to humans and possibly other animals- is a threat to our long term existence. We must know what we are using and how to protect our families.

  • Fruitfulvine2

    Irrational? I hardly think so. We need to know these things so we can help our families and friends avoid possible damaging effects to their health.

  • That's an excellent synopsis of exactly how serious this issue is!

  • I agree with you that BPA's pervasive nature is the catching point in this debate.

  • I've been getting a lot of cynical comments about being a fear mongerer on Twitter lately, so I thought I'd pose it to you all. I love hearing other mom's viewpoints on it!

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  • tryingtobegreener

    I'm right there with you, Alicia! I just worked on a post for Eco Women this weekend about this very topic of BPA in receipts. You're absolutely right in that the concern doesn't stop with baby bottles!

  • heathervickerypruden

    I don't think you (or we) are over reacting at all – the question is, what can we do about it?

  • Thanks for visiting Vitamin G today! I enjoyed reading this.

  • Thanks, Sarah! Loved your straightforward article and appreciate you stopping by to check out the goings on here too 🙂

  • C

    You just keep doing what you do! I have pointed so many people to your site. Do they fanatically try to keep up on this stuff as much as some of us? Probably not. But raising awareness is a snowball effect!
    And who knows what motivates those people trying to silence you?

  • heathervickerypruden

    I don't think you (or we) are over reacting at all – the question is, what can we do about it?

  • Thanks for visiting Vitamin G today! I enjoyed reading this.

  • C

    You just keep doing what you do! I have pointed so many people to your site. Do they fanatically try to keep up on this stuff as much as some of us? Probably not. But raising awareness is a snowball effect!
    And who knows what motivates those people trying to silence you?

  • SarahJo

    My baby boomer parents and even a few of my GenY and Xer friends would call me (and this) a little obsessive. But I think it's a massive, evolving issue that needs to be addressed now. In addition to this problem is disclosure by and trust of brands. I feel like there are very few brands I can trust to give me honest, transparent answers. This is a lot of work (research, avoidance, worrying, etc.) for a full-time (plus) working mother. When is the someone with more authority (government, maybe) willing to put an end to this?

  • peacesweetpeas

    This was one that seriouslythrew me for a loop when I first learned about it… I had visions of myself pulling out my gloves to pay…. it made me go straight into overload, where I just had to stop thinking about it.

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  • CindyB

    I'm a little late to the party here….something caught my eye about the receipt issue yesterday and I started to look into this. I knew BPA was in receipt paper, but honestly, figured it would be far less of a concern than food being contaminated with it. To be candid, when I saw the title of your post, I was really hoping you'd say, “yeah, it's over the edge, don't worry.” I'm 6 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child. The oldest is a healthy 4 yr old, and I do everything in my power to keep our exposure to BPA (as well as other toxins) to a minimum. I do everything “right” as far as BPA goes (I don't buy canned foods, we use either fresh or tetrapak; don't drink anything in a can; use glass storage containers & pitchers, etc.), but now the receipt issue is sort of blowing my mind! I can't envision I'll have the opportunity to wash my hands EVERY SINGLE TIME after being handed a receipt from a clerk! I could always ask that they put it in the bag, but in the case of reusable bags, won't they be contaminated? Secondly, from what I understand there is no way to tell what paper receipts could be coated with BPA and which aren't…is that still true? I guess it's the pregnancy hormones, but I really do feel so overwhelmed by all of the information about toxins, etc., that I'm really beginning to wonder if it's possible to have a healthy baby (even though I have one seemingly healthy 4 yr old, but who knows what she may face years down the road…) and am scared to death. We do what we can (eat organic as much as possible, eat local grass-fed/free-range meat/poultry, use non-toxic cleaning products, non-toxic cosmetics/body care products, etc.), but I really still feel like we're coming up short and it's a scary, scary world. I do find a little solace in reading another one of your post that folate could correct the effects of BPA….guess I'll be eating spinach 3x a day! 😉

  • Guest

    We're simply trying to make healthier choices for ourselves and our families. In my opinion we need to talk more about the problem of BPA and other nasty chemicals being so widespread with companies not telling where they use them. We need to make the general public aware of the problem and taking steps to change things! I'm trying to get my boss to switch to BPA free receipts, a far bigger exposure for me than the occasional shopping trip.

  • healy

    new to your blog but the first article I read was raising an awareness. . .I love to eat and sometimes I forgot to read the content of it(too lazy). Yeah dont freak out and say some nasty things but do something about it and thats the mean point. All of us will die but we can live life to the fullest by taking care of our health and be aware.


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  • cvlztnndmdnss

    Not an irrational, In fact the ubiquity and closed-eye use of this chemical is far more irrational in scale. The fact that there is no way to avoid the chemical is a far more irrational situation. Must we just lie back and accept these chemicals as they poison our and our children’s bodies? Is there nothing we can do?

  • Until We Are Free

    PCOS, infertility, obesity and other endocrine disorders are increasingly becoming a problem in Western culture. It’s no surprise that when we start to examine the reason, we can see that BPA is everywhere! Instead of medicating us, the FDA should be educating us. We shouldn’t have to beg for this information and wonder why our children are maturing too fast and have health problems at a younger age. It’s time to fight back and not allow this to continue any longer! Our future and our children’s children’s future is at stake.

  • Melissa

    I don’t think we’re being irrational at all! There are still many people that don’t think BPA is a problem, so we need to keep talking about it. We need to get laws to ban this toxic stuff from receipts and any food containers, not just baby stuff. I know the companies that make BPA won’t be happy, but not making it will be better for their workers health too!

  • Ldzave

    I think you’re all over reacting. Do you realize how many chemicals are in your carpeting? your home insulations? your drywall? you air filter? The air? your clothing? The packages your food is packaged in? Hey how about our water that we shower and bathe in? I could go on and on and on and even get on the topic of how Americans drug themselves and their kids for ever disorder there is. Quick,,,buckle your seatbelts, wear your helmet and knee pads to scooter to the corner and back and when you’re done, wash your clothes so you dont get dirty or bring dirt in the house. Better check your mail too ! Who knows where that stuff has been!!

  • ralllu

    Worring about this not irrational at all. I think You’re right !

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