A report released in late 2010 by two advocacy groups found BPA on money. Bisphenol A is a chemical that has been found to cause everything from cancer to thyroid dysfunction and obesity to neurological disorders. If you remember there was a big scare about BPA being part of the plastic in water bottles. Out of all the money tested, more than 90% was found to have the chemical BPA at least in trace amounts. Most of the levels of BPA were considered “safe” levels by the US and European governments, but we all know how lax our governments are on protecting the public from dangers such as this. Canada is one of the few countries that has taken the threat of BPA seriously and controls BPA as a TOXIC substance. In the US, BPA is a “chemical of concern,” though not yet heavily regulated.
Now for the real scare- BPA on money is being transferred by its close proximity to receipts. I’m sure you’ve bought something and received a receipt where the ink starts to shed off the paper. A very sneaky tactic by the stores involved not to accept returns years after they have been made. The only problem here is that the ink powdering off the receipt is toner mixed with BPA. This is in toxic levels and is so fine that it can easily be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. These kinds of receipts are called “thermal receipts”. Just yesterday my wife used some hand sanitizer at a US hospital while holding a thermal receipt. As soon as the hand sanitizer touched her hand, the toner came off and was all over her hands. She wasn’t even in direct contact with it and just the fumes from the hand sanitizer caused this reaction. It was after this that I performed additional research on the subject and located this advocacy report.
I think it’s quite scary that the governments continue to downplay dangerous and potentially life threatening chemicals and are even allowing their use in hospitals. If you are trying to minimize your exposure to BPA, handle money and thermal receipts as little as possible.