Trader Joe's announced last week that it would be switching its receipt paper to one void of BPA and BPS, two known endocrine disruptors.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is commonly used to make thermal paper, used for receipts and airline luggage tags, as well as linings for plastic and metal cans. Bisphenol S (BPS) is a common replacement for BPA, but recent studies show that like BPA, BPS interferes with the normal functioning of cells.
“Some years back—when concerns related to the use of BPA were starting to build, we evaluated where and how it was being used within our operation and identified steps to take,” writes Trader Joe’s. “As our understanding evolves, so too does our work. We are now pursuing receipt paper that is free of phenol chemicals (including BPA and BPS), which we will be rolling out to all stores as soon as possible.”
Trader Joe's made its announcement following the publication of the results of a recent study from Michigan-based Ecology Center, which found traces of either BPA or BPS in 93 percent of 207 store register receipts tested.
Both BPA and BPS can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin, thus increasing the danger linked with their presence in commonly handled receipt papers.
“While the potential health risk is highest for cashiers, wait staff, librarians and anyone who regularly handles paper receipts, the general public is advised to limit contact with the receipts as much as possible,” reports Food Dive.
Trader Joe’s has not completely eradicated the chemicals from its stores, but it does clearly list items containing the chemicals on its website.
“While there are aspects of our product supply-chain beyond our direct control, we will never leave to chance the safety of the products we offer,” wrote the company in a statement. “We err on the side of caution and are proactive in addressing issues.”
Studies have shown that BPA is linked to endocrine disorders including diabetes, obesity, and problems linked to fertility. The FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, formula packaging, and children’s cups in 2012 following concerns that the chemical could disrupt development in babies and children. It has not, however, been banned from other food-adjacent materials, such as can linings and pizza boxes.
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