This report last week in Natural News, inevitably, caught my eye… They are, it appears, talking about the dreaded BPA (Bisphenol A), the focus of many environmental campaigns.
BPA has been known since the 1930s to be an endocrine disruptor. But, because it is so useful in a very wide range of applications (especially keeping plastics soft), controls on its use, especially in the US, continue to be very loose, despite mountains of research connecting it to cancer, disrupted sexual behaviour, obesity, neurological problems and thyroid malfunction. It is its use in products for babies and children (such as the teets on babies’ bottles) that is especially worrying as so little is really understood about its effect on their relatively small bodies and immature hormonal and immune systems of babies.
Anyhow, it appears that not only does BPA keep teets soft but it is an essential ingredient in making the paper, known as thermal paper, used in till receipts, lottery tickets, medical papers etc. It enables manufacturers to create a paper which, effectively, contains its own ink – far cheaper than having to apply ink to paper. However, since there is no requirement to list the ingredients of thermal paper, no one is aware that such apparently harmless everyday items could contain BPA.
The problem arises because the BPA does not stay in the paper but leaches out and rubs off onto what ever it touches – including dollar bills! To prove it, the Washington Toxics Coalition tested 22 dollar bills and found BPA in 21 of them! Although the WTC only tested dollar bills, thermal paper is used worldwide so there is no reason to assume that the leaching that goes on in your pocket or your wallet is restricted to the US.
The moral is, presumably, keep a separate ‘receipt’ wallet in your pocket in which you can corrall receipts and lottery tickets so that they only leach into each other.
If you want to learn more, check out the Washington Toxics Coalition where you can also support and/or donate to the campaign.
A Trivial Pursuit addendum.
In my first skim through of the piece I understood it to be the dollar bills themselves that contained the BPA so Googled sterling notes to see if they presented the same problem. I didn’t, hardly suprisingly, find anything relevant to BPA and bank notes but I did find this rivetting report from Spectroscopy Europe 1997:
The paper for Bank of England banknotes is made from cotton fibre and linen rag by a specialist paper manufacturer.
Electron microscopy has revealed that the fibres of Sterling banknotes provide an ideal medium for the entrapment of small crystals, such as those of cocaine. The fibres of a new note are tightly packed, but after a period of use become more open and are able to trap small particles…..
In a recent criminal proceeding a dust collection/analysis technique was used to establish the presence of heroin on a quantity of confiscated cash….. Subsequently, a bulk quantity of heroin was recovered which police believed to be related to the money seizure…… A conviction resulted.