Something new to worry about: New research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found many people are being exposed to higher levels of a substitute chemical that is being used in place of the potentially toxic BPA though cash register receipts and other paper products.
The study, published in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to report widespread exposure to the chemical bisphenol S (BPS) through “thermal paper” – used in cash receipts, recycled paper and currency.
Kurunthachalam Kannan and colleagues, who conducted the study, noted growing evidence of the potentially toxic effects of bisphenol A (BPA) has led some manufacturers to replace it with BPS in thermal paper and other products.
But they noted BPS “ is closely related to BPA, with some of the same estrogen-mimicking effects, and unanswered questions exist about whether it is safer.” Nevertheless, very little is known about BPS occurrence in the environment, the scientists noted.
For the study, the scientists analyzed 16 types of paper from the U.S., Japan, Korea and Vietnam. They detected BPS in all the receipt paper they tested, 87 percent of the samples of paper currency and 52 percent of recycled paper.
The researchers said people may be absorbing BPS through their skin in larger doses than they absorbed BPA when it was more widely used – 19 times more BPS than BPA. People who handle thermal paper in their jobs may be absorbing much more BPS.
The study was funded by CDC, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Department of Science and Technology of Shandong Province.