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Cancer Health Center

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BPA Can Rub Off From Receipts, Money, Study Finds

Environmental Group Suggests Less Handling of Receipts, but Industry Says Chemical Exposure Is Low

BPA Industry Responds

''Some receipts made from thermal paper can contain low levels of bisphenol A (BPA)," Steven G. Hentges, PhD, senior director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, says in a statement.

However, he says, there is no reason for concern. "Recent scientific studies indicate that to the limited extent BPA is absorbed through the skin, it is converted to a biologically inactive metabolite that is rapidly eliminated from the body."

And, he says, the trace levels of BPA claimed to be present on dollar bills are not significant.

BPA on Receipts, Money: Perspective

The new report ''shows that a significant amount of BPA comes off the receipt and onto the skin," says Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, a public and environmental health advocacy group. He conducted an editorial review of the report for the researchers.

More research is needed, he and Schreder say.

''It could turn out that skin exposure could be an important pathway," Schettler says.

BPA Exposure: How to Minimize

What's needed, in Schreder's view, is for Congress to make reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act a top priority. Bills have been introduced in the House and the Senate to update the law, she says.

Her organization is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to the most hazardous chemicals.

"BPA is on that list," she tells WebMD.

Meanwhile, she suggests minimizing exposure to receipts. "Refuse it if you can," she says. If not, store the receipts separately in your wallet, away from your currency.

"Keep receipts away from young children, and wash your hands after handling," she says.

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