Study: BPA found on register receipts, dollar bills

Study: BPA found on register receipts, dollar bills »Play Video
SEATTLE -- There's a new warning about a hidden danger you could face every time you go shopping.

A new study found register receipts printed on thermal paper contain BPA, a chemical already banned in baby bottles.

"It is not good for your body," said Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, campaign director of the Washington Toxics Coalition. "Its been linked to obesity, hyperactivity, cancer, lower testosterone and sperm production. It's really not a good chemical that you want to be exposed to."

BPA can rub off on your hands. Touch a receipt, touch food, eat that food and you just swallowed some BPA.

"Something as mundane as going an getting a receipts shouldn't be cause for concern," said Sager-Rosenthal.

A new Environmental Working Group study found more than half the receipts tested had BPA levels greater than the plastic baby bottles now banned in most states. A study by the Washington Toxic Coalition echoed those findings, and even found BPA on dollar bills.

"We tested 22 dollar bills and found 21 of them had BPA on them," said Sager-Rosenthal.

Sager-Rosenthal says most receipts containing BPA have a shiny filmy texture that you can actually write on with your fingernail. She says paper makers use it because it's cost-effective.

Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana with the Seattle Children's Research Institute says receipts are a new concern, but says canned foods are even more alarming. BPA preserves the shelf life of a variety of canned goods, from soup to soda.

"I think at this time, we have enough animal evidence to show these chemicals can cause harm in the body. So we should try to prevent exposure when we can," she said.

Tips for avoiding BPA include eating fresh food and buying canned goods with a "BPA-free" stamp on the label.

The Washington Toxics Coalition recommends refusing receipts when you can. If you can't, they suggest always washing your hands after handling receipts and money. And most important: keep receipts away from small children.

Connecticut just passed a law banning receipts containing BPA.