Hand Sanitizer + Restaurant Receipt Could Add Up to More BPA in the Body
the MPR take:
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) can be found in many products, even in a restaurant receipt. In a study published in PLOS One, researchers aimed to discover just how much BPA can be transferred to a human in handling a receipt after purchasing a meal at a fast-food restaurant. The authors wanted to mimic the behaviors of fast-food restaurant patrons by having subjects hold a thermal receipt (~20mg BPA/g paper) for various amounts of time after using hand sanitizer (a substance that increases the permeability of the skin). Typically the customer would then eat their purchased food, thereby transferring the BPA from their hand to their mouth. For this experiment, researchers measured the amount of BPA transferred by swiping the palms and fingers of subjects. Even after a very short period of holding the receipt (2 seconds) a significant amount of BPA was transferred from the receipt to the hand after using a product that increases dermal penetration (ie, hand sanitizer, lotion). This effect occurred in both men and women, however women did appear to have higher levels; it is not known whether this has to do with gender differences in skin permeability. This study is the first to report on how thermal paper may be contributing to high BPA levels in the human population. More research needs to be done to assess the risk of transdermal absorption of environmental contaminants.