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5/2/15 Cover


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Handling receipts increases exposure to BPA

The type of paper used for many printed receipts can expose people to bisphenol A, although urine markers of the chemical were much lower than after eating some canned soups.

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Guest post by Janet Raloff

People who handle cash register receipts printed on thermal paper show notable exposure to bisphenol A, a new study finds — except when those volunteers wore nitrile rubber gloves.  BPA, a weak mimic of the female sex hormone estrogen, has been associated with a host of behavioral and other health outcomes. Urine levels spiked after volunteers handled the receipts for two hours and remained elevated for up to a day.

Findings from the pilot study of 24 students and staff of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), in Boston, appear in the Feb. 26 Journal of the American Medical Association. Peak BPA levels in urine, however, did not reach values seen after eating soups from some BPA-lined cans in a 2011 HSPH study, the researchers note. 

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