Letters to the Editor

Letters

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10:24am, December 3, 2010
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Receipt of BPA risk news
Thank you so much for your recent article (“Receipts a large and little-known source of BPA,” SN: 8/28/10, p. 5) on the possible dangers of touching cash register receipts! One group you may have overlooked as being at risk was accountants and bookkeepers. I own a small tax and accounting shop where we handle literally thousands of clients’ receipts every year. Sometimes we wear latex gloves, just because the receipts are dirty (such as from a machine shop or auto repair), but now I will insist my employees do so more often, especially any young women who may become pregnant. I am giving a copy of your article to everyone who works here and mailing one to other accounting offices in the area. Accounting offices everywhere should somehow be alerted to this danger.
Maggie Seedorf, Taylor, Mich.

I appreciate receiving the “heads-up” regarding BPA-laden receipts. Is anybody researching the risk from BPA ending up in recycled paper from the recycling of such receipts? One product made from recycled paper is facial tissue, which commonly comes into contact with our skin. Might not that further expose us to BPA? By the way, curious minds want to know if Science News address labels are thermally printed? If so, did I also just receive a free BPA sample on my label?
Terry Masters, Portland, Ore.

Recycled papers often contain BPA, or bisphenol A. A German study several years ago (SN: 5/24/03, p. 334) turned up BPA in “sizable quantities — up to 45 milligrams per kilogram of paper — in two of three brands of recycled bathroom tissue tested.” As for Science News mailing labels, those are ink-jet printed, not thermally printed like the receipts described in the recent article. Still, most printing inks contain BPA, says biologist Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri-Columbia, so washing hands after handling a newspaper or magazine might be prudent. — Janet Raloff

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