Lest the title sound like an airline with bad service, it’s not. BpA is the abbreviation for Bisphenol-A, a chemical compound added to many plastic products during manufacturing. It’s a known endocrine-disrupter and in this age of concern about premature and early pubescence in children, it’s one I’m taking out of rotation as much as possible.
I’m not big in to turning all of my plastic-stuff in the house in to glass, and I do have a plastic (albeit, non-BpA) water bottle that I use daily. But two things have caught my attention recently: 1) China has banned BpA in baby products and 2) While BpA is suspected in plastic products, research indicates that we’re getting the majority of it through register receipts.
First: China is the center of manufacturing for the world. Even things that are developed in Japan and sold in Japan are manufactured in China – their sheer available workforce and model of business (each factory on a particular street will attempt to give the lowest bid on manufacturing something) puts them in the catbird seat for making the stuff we use. I have no problems with this – I cannot change the way businesses do business or the way China handles itself. Chinese manufacturing has been blamed for lead in children’s toys and in the paint on children’s toys; for melamine in baby formula; and for contaminated pet food. To say that their track record for manufacturing things I use is stellar would be untrue. But the sheer truth of the matter is this: if China has recognized the threat the synthetic estrogen BpA poses to the babies in their country and has banned it, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do the same. Many manufacturers have already done so, voluntarily. And that is fantastic. But for our “protectors in the government” (said with tongue firmly planted-in-cheek) not to even recognize this as a potential risk tells me that our “protectors” are more interested in lining their pockets with contributions from companies who speak more loudly than science does. Or than we do, for that matter.
As far as thermal receipt paper – how do we avoid this? It’s a conundrum I have yet to figure out. We need receipts to prove we’ve not stolen something and to insure that our checking accounts balance on a regular basis. We have to handle them, and yet they are often (mostly?) covered in this synthetic estrogen that makes its way in to our bloodstream through dermal exposure. Yowza. According to research done in Switzerland, BpA can readily be absorbed through the skin to levels where it cannot be washed off. Double yowza.
So what’s a girl to do? I haven’t figured out any good plans so far. I’m not reactionary in that I’m not ditching all plastics and I’m not wearing gloves when I get a receipt from the store or gas station. Yet my own hormone levels have been jacked up for years – do I really want to add more synthetic estrogen to my system? I don’t – synthetic estrogen is what caused blood clots that migrated to my lungs and nearly killed me in July of 2000. Right now, I’m holding receipts with my fingernails as much as possible and being very aware of hand-washing as soon as I get home. I’d love for the future of thermal paper to change and for this chemical-additive to go away, but until that happens, I have to have a plan.