Cash register receipts generally have BPA (bisphenol-A) in them, with the sole exception of receipt paper produced by Appleton, a paper company in Wisconsin. Enviro Girl has written about this issue previously, so click here if you need further information. In the interest of full disclosure, Enviro Girl should mention that she’s married to a man who owns stock in a company producing cash register receipt rolls produced by Appleton. The company made the switch for environmental and health reasons.
Yet there’s no way to know if receipt paper has BPA in it, unless the cashier or store specifically posts that information. Until now, that is. Yesterday Enviro Girl received a press release stating this:
Today, Appleton, the only producer of BPA-free thermal receipt paper in the United States, announced that it has added easy-to-see red fibers to its paper, creating peace of mind for retailers and consumers in time for the holiday shopping season. Until now, consumers have had no means to distinguish whether the cash register, credit card or ATM receipts they receive contain the controversial chemical (BPA), a substance that has been linked to potential health risks. Appleton designed its “red fiber” BPA-free paper to help consumers and retail workers quickly identify the kind of thermal receipt paper they are handling. The red fibers will be in about 75 percent of the thermal receipt paper that Appleton ships by the end of November. Appleton expects to have the red fibers in all of its thermal receipt paper before the end of first quarter 2011. Concerns over BPA have grown. In January 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
expressed concern about the potential adverse health effects of BPA in infants and children, especially for applications with direct contact to food. BPA bans are in place in Japan, Canada and a growing number of U.S. states, and Congress is considering a federal ban on BPA in all food and beverage containers.
In short, if you’re concerned about avoiding receipt paper with BPA coating, start looking for those red fibers! Like labeling dairy products rGBH-free, the healthier products can stand out of the pack, making it easier for consumers to identify their options. Hopefully consumer demand will continue for environmentally safe products, for our health, and for the planet’s.