BPA in Receipt Paper — Updated News!

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.

4 thoughts on “BPA in Receipt Paper — Updated News!

  1. Just this month, the boys were using their fingernails to ‘draw’ on receipts and I was wondering what chemicals they have in them. I wonder, is it better to compost them or recycle?

    Another question: my town has just started recycling tetra packs, for juice etc. I never bought them really because plastic has always been recycled here so I stuck with plastic. Assuming that both are now recyclable, which is more environmentally friendly? And HOW are tetra packs recycled, if they have all those layers?

    • I’d vote for C) throw the receipts away. Recycling doesn’t get rid of the BPA… They actually keep those tetra packs pretty intact and kind of sew them together like quilts to produce things like pencil cases and backpacks. The company calls it “Upcycling” and they’re doing this with corks and a bunch of other products. I guess if you can recycle either, either one is a good pick.

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