Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

BPA is *everywhere*

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Janet Raloff reports in Science News:

People interested in limiting exposure to bisphenol A — a hormone-mimicking environmental contaminant — might want to consider wearing gloves the next time a store clerk hands over a cash-register receipt. A July 27 report by a public-interest research group has now confirmed many of these receipts have a BPA-rich powdery residue on their surface. But you can’t tell which ones on the basis of a visual inspection.

A building block of polycarbonate plastics, bisphenol A is also a biologically active estrogen mimic. Less well known, many thermal- and carbonless-copy papers also employ BPA to print images, generally store receipts.

In animals, fetal exposures to BPA can be especially risky, sometimes fostering brain, behavioral or reproductive problems. Canada and some states are moving to ban polycarbonate plastic in baby bottles for that reason. And heart data suggest that even adult exposures to BPA might cause harm.

A vexing question has been where people are acquiring the BPA that taints nearly everyone’s body. Last year, green chemist John Warner argued that his data suggested store receipts could be a — if not theleading source.

In its own quest to gauge the prevalence of BPA in store receipts, the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group, or EWG, recently commissioned University of Missouri scientists to assay for the chemical in 36 receipts that it had collected from banks, grocery stores and other retailers in the District and seven states (running from Connecticut and Maryland to California and Oregon).

The receipts came from purchases made at places including Safeway, Whole Foods, CVS, Wal-Mart, Chevron, McDonald’s, the U.S. Postal Service and cafeterias in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. They also included three fast-food franchises (Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s) located in Japan.

Chemical analyses turned up BPA on all but seven receipts. Sixteen hosted substantial quantities, averaging 1.9 percent BPA by weight of a receipt (and ranging from 0.8 to 2.8 percent).

“The receipt for a McDonald’s Happy Meal™ purchased in Clinton, Conn., on April 21, 2010, had an estimated 13 milligrams of BPA,” EWG notes online in a summary of its findings. “That equals the amount of BPA in 126 cans of Chef Boyardee Overstuffed Beef Ravioli in Hearty Tomato & Meat Sauce," the group points out — "one of the products with the highest concentrations of BPA in EWG’s 2007 tests of canned foods.” A receipt from the McDonald’s in Japan, however, had no detectable concentrations of BPA.

Safeway “had the highest levels by several measures,” EWG reports…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

28 July 2010 at 10:36 am

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