Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Importance of BPA-Free Receipt Paper

This guest post is brought to you by Receipt Rolls- a distributor or Thermal Receipt Paper Rolls

It has been argued that thermal receipt paper is the best choice because it’s faster and creates less waste than traditional printing methods. However, in order for thermal receipt paper to work, the paper itself must react when heat is placed onto it. After all, heat is what produces the image. For the paper to react to heat it has to have a special coating. In the past, some of the special coatings that help receipt paper react are chemicals called BPA (Bisphenol A) and BPS (Bisphenol S). Recently it has been found that these chemicals may be harmful to humans and the environment. 

When recently researched BPA was found to cause several harmful effects in humans. These consequences were neurological problems, obesity and increased thyroid levels. The most commonly affected people were women and children. This is because BPA contains high levels of an estrogen-like compound.

There are some times when you just can’t avoid taking a receipt. There are some items you need to have proof of purchase for, so to stop taking receipts to avoid BPA exposure simply isn’t an option. Congress is considering putting a federal ban on receipt paper that contains BPA, but then how will we be able to continue thermal printing?

Some receipt printers thought BPS was the solution. It is similar enough to BPA to be able to still react to heat to imprint images. However, even more recently scientists have found not only does BPS contain some of the same side effects as BPA, but we also already contain high levels of this chemical.

When researching BPS, scientists found that they knew less about BPS than they originally thought. When coming in contact with thermal receipt paper humans absorb much more BPS than they did BPA. This was disconcerting because 90% of women tested already had BPS detected in their urine. This makes humans much more likely to suffer the negative consequences of the BPS chemical.

In addition to harming humans, BPA also has many negative effects on the environment. A 2010 EPA study indicated that more than one million pounds of BPA are released into the environment each year. In addition to this, BPA is harmful to aquatic animals. The chemical negatively affects the life cycle of these organisms by harming reproduction and natural development.

Take a second to think about how many receipts you have received and disposed of in your lifetime. Multiply this by the number of people in the world regularly receiving receipt paper and you come to understand how widespread the harmful affects of BPA are in the world. The technology now exists to produce receipt paper without these harmful chemicals. Be sure to advocate for BPA-Free receipt paper whenever possible to reduce the harm to humans and the environment.