Are Grocery Receipts a Health Hazard?

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Gary Houlder/CORBIS

One of the things we do while shopping without even thinking about it is wait for a cash register receipt after we’ve made our purchase. But new research is showing even a receipt can pose a health hazard.

The little printouts from grocery and big box stores, fast food joints, and other consumer outlets actually contain high levels of the chemical bisphenol-A. In lab tests, the substance has been linked to several types of health problems in animals including abnormal reproductive system development, diminished intellectual capacity and behavioral abnormalities. When handled by humans, BPA can contaminate fingers, and seep into the skin even to a point where it can’t be removed, this entering the bloodstream.

However public health officials have been pushing to reduce or remove BPA from receipts in order to minimize exposure. Little more than trace amounts were detected in receipts from Starbucks, Target, some ATMs and other business. “Since 60 percent of the receipts EWG tested did not contain BPA, we know there is an easy fix for retailers who still use paper containing the chemical,” Environmental Working Group senior scientist Dr. Anila Jacob told AOL News.