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Receipts Linked to Higher BPA Concentration in Bodily Fluids

Update Date: Feb 26, 2014 04:33 PM EST
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You may want to wear gloves the next time you're handed a receipt.

New research found higher levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in the urine of participants who used their bare hands to handle receipts printed on thermal paper compared to those who wore gloves.

Researchers said the latest findings are important because human exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) has been linked to worse reproductive function in adults and delayed neurodevelopment in children exposed shortly before or after birth.

"Exposure to BPA is primarily through dietary ingestion, including consumption of canned foods. A less-studied source of exposure is thermal receipt paper, handled daily by many people at supermarkets, ATM machines, gas stations, and other settings," researcher wrote in the study.

Previous studies revealed that the coating on thermal paper is sensitive to heat and is easily transferred to skin with handling.

Lead researcher Shelley Ehrlich, M.D., Sc.D., M.P.H., of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, wanted to examine the effect of handling thermal receipts on urine BPA levels.

Researcher had 24 volunteers who provided urine samples before and after handling receipts printed on thermal paper for a continuous two hours.

The findings revealed that BPA was found in 83 percent of urine samples at the beginning of the study and in 100 percent of samples after handling receipts without gloves.

Researchers said there was a significant rise in urinary BPA concentration after people handled receipts for two hours without gloves. However, there was no significant increase when participants used gloves.

"A larger study is needed to confirm our findings and evaluate the clinical implications," researcher concluded.

The findings are published in the journal JAMA.

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