I just read about a frightening new piece of research involving Bisphenol-A, the toxic chemical used to harden plastics; it is also a synthetic estrogen. I spent the summer getting rid of all plastic items that had BPA in them--including microwave popcorn bags (the plastic liner degrades)--and trying to educate my sons and nieces and nephews about the dangers of BPA, particularly the boys: BPA has been linked to low sperm count.
Now it turns out that there is BPA in the coating on some "thermal paper" that is used in many cash registers. (Click the link to read the article in Environmental Working Group, one of my favorite watchdog sites.)
Check the paper on the receipts of stores you frequent. Ask managers about the BPA in the paper; they'll tell you they don't know, so ask them to ask headquarters. Register alarm--and complaint. Stores--and gas stations and fast food restaurants--do not have to use BPA contaminated thermal paper; plenty do not. TJ Maxx, one of my favorite hunting grounds, wants my feedback? Here it is: Change your register paper.
You can easily check to see if receipts are on thermal paper. Rub the edge of a coin along the paper. If it leaves a discolored trace, it is thermal. What we cannot know is whether the coating on that particular thermal paper contains BPA. But why should we be doing guesswork? Most of us don't have access to testing facilities. We count on the companies we trust--and on our regulatory agencies--to keep us safe from toxins. Whole Foods: get a new source of paper! The irony is too much: while we're shopping in a place we're supposed to trust, all those folks at the registers are being exposed to toxins.
It is time to throw lots of support behind legislation to regulate chemicals before they come into our lives, not after. It is hard to believe BPA and other stuff is still legal, but that's the problem. 62,000 chemicals were grandfathered into the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. They were given a free pass--the idea being that we would eventually figure out if they were safe. This regulation is being revisited right now--now is the time to educate ourselves, and make our outrage heard. Eco Moms Unite!
We--and worse, our children--should not continue to be guinea pigs for the chemical industry.