Saturday, July 9, 2011

BPA PSA: plastics, cans and receipts

Everyone knows about BPA, right? You can read about it here. It is used in many hard, clear plastics, among other things, and is known or suspected to have multiple deleterious effects on human health. Manufacturers have stopped using it in many things, including baby bottles, pacifiers and toys, though it is still a good idea to check. Not out of the goodness of their hearts, or because they care about public health, but because of the public uproar, led by activist groups like Environmental Working Group. Labels or packaging will usually say 'BPA free', if the item is, in fact, BPA free. Possibly even if it's not, but that's a rant about profit hungry corporate America and our corporation loving government for another day.

BPA is also used in the liners of many canned foods, and leaches into your food. Some brands of canned food have switched to other liners, and others are working on it, but many will continue to blatantly ignore the health risks of this practice until change is forced upon them by consumers. You can read this report to see which brands use BPA in their cans.

Another place you might not expect to be exposed to BPA is at the checkout counter. But guess what, many stores use BPA to print receipts. Huge, huge volumes of it. Much more than might leach into your food or drink from a can or plastic bottle, and much more likely to get into your body because it's loose, instead of bound up in a compound. You can read about it here and here. How many times have you grabbed a receipt, given it to your kid to occupy them for a minute while you get out of the store, and then put them in their carseat with a handul of goldfish? Or taken a receipt, crumpled it up in your pocket at the coffee shop, then eaten your muffin? Horrifying. Unfortunately there is no way to tell by looking which receipts have it and which don't. This article lists some stores that had clean tests in some locations, as well as some that had super high levels. Again, nothing will change until consumers rise up and demand it. So ask your retailers if they use BPA to print their receipts. If they don't know, ask them to find out. And ask them to change, and shop at the stores that don't use it. Google up the retailers you frequent and use their online forms to tell them you want to shop where receipts are BPA free. Handle receipts as little as possible and wash your hands after you touch one. Don't let your kids touch them at all. Don't expect any help from the government- the FDA has already declined to regulate BPA, so you're on your own, baby.

1 comment:

Jennifer McNeely said...

You can t do ANYTHING anymore!
aren't grocery store workers unionized?? Shouldn't they make a big ol stink???