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July 27, 2010 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Paper receipts - including receipts from McDonald’s, CVS, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, and the U.S. Postal Service - are a major source of endocrine-disrupting bisphenol-A. The total amount of BPA on tested receipts was 250 to 1,000 times greater than other, more widely discussed sources of BPA exposure, including canned foods, baby bottles and infant formula. BPA transfers readily from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a depth that it cannot be washed off.
posted by stbalbach (111 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, this and the Alar from apples will really eff me up, right?
posted by inturnaround at 11:47 AM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wasn't worried about continuing to drink from my old Nalgene bottles before, and now I'm even less worried. I'm going to shove a receipt in the mouth of the next person who tells me I need to buy new bottles.
posted by komara at 11:47 AM on July 27, 2010 [19 favorites]


Will this BPA kill me faster than the Chicken McNuggets?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:48 AM on July 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seems like this falls under the same thing as second-hand smoke in bars/restaurants. Doesn't matter to the individual consumer healthwise but might fuck up the employees.
posted by smackfu at 11:50 AM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess that guy who wears gloves everywhere was right after all.
posted by goethean at 11:50 AM on July 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


I'm going to stop letting my kids buy me lunch immediately.
posted by maryr at 11:51 AM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"What remains unknown is how much of the chemical that may rub off onto the hands is absorbed through the skin or whether people then ingest BPA by handling food or touching their mouths. "

So, is this statement important.....?
posted by HuronBob at 11:51 AM on July 27, 2010


is this statement important.....?

"The EWG’s analysis could help explain why the chemical has been found in the urine of about 93 percent of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "
posted by stbalbach at 11:52 AM on July 27, 2010


So, this means they're going to try to up-sell me on a fancy new receipt I don't actually need?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:53 AM on July 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Looks like I picked the wrong time to start my reciept eating habit up again...
posted by inturnaround at 11:53 AM on July 27, 2010 [16 favorites]


"unknown" does not equal "could help to explain", does it? I guess I'm confused. Have they determined a correlation here? I just didn't see it in the article... and the "unknown" statement seems to say they didn't.
posted by HuronBob at 11:54 AM on July 27, 2010


Thanks for posting this. Toxic chemicals impact everybody in a thousand little ways, and while there is a lot of hysteria about chemicals there are also a lot of legitimate concerns. This isn't just a workplace safety issue - it's an environmental issue, a social justice issue, and a public health issue. It's also another example of why we need comprehensive TSCA reform.

For more information on exposure to BPA and other environmental toxics, HealthyStuff.org is a good resource. For more information on TSCA reform from an environmental and public health perspective, check out Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. For more information on TSCA reform from the chemical industry perspective, see the Coalition for Chemical Safety.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:55 AM on July 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


"The EWG’s analysis could help explain why the chemical has been found in the urine of about 93 percent of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "

Doesn't the very fact that it's found in your urine indicate that it passes through your system? If it were found in concentration in your blood, that'd be a whole different can of worms.
posted by crunchland at 11:56 AM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


...the chemical has been found in the urine of about 93 percent of Americans...

So not only do I have to stop eating receipts, but I also have to stop drinking urine?!
posted by DU at 11:57 AM on July 27, 2010 [84 favorites]


From the Washington Post's link:
The American Chemistry Council, which represents the chemical industry, said that while BPA can transfer from paper receipts to the skin, the level of absorption is low. "Available data suggests that BPA is not readily absorbed through the skin," a spokeswoman said. "Biomonitoring data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control shows that exposure to BPA from all sources, which would include typical exposure from receipts, is extremely low."
And then, from the EPA link:
Scientists have not determined how much of a receipt's BPA coating can transfer to the skin and from there into the body. A study published July 11 by scientists with the Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zürich in Switzerland found that BPA transfers readily from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a depth that it cannot be washed off. This raises the possibility that the chemical infiltrates the skin's lower layers to enter the bloodstream directly.
Despite advertising hype, topical creams and lotions generally do not penetrate the skin deeply enough (into the lower dermis) to enter the bloodstream. Nor do anti-aging creams penetrate deeply enough to have any permanent or long-lasting effect on the skin, other than temporary hydration / epidermal softening, because they do not reach the subcutaneous layer which contains the fat cells where wrinkles are "born."

So, since there are dueling studies, how are we supposed to determine what's happening here? Is BPA entering the bloodstream or not? It seems logical that topical exposure would not be as dangerous as ingestion. Is that really the case, and is contact exposure still something we should be concerned about? If the chemical cannot be washed off easily, can it be transferred off the skin and into food during the cooking/handling process? Can it be transferred from person to person?

I suspect this raises more questions than answers.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on July 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ugh. I accidentally deleted a sentence in my comment above, which asked whether it was likely that BPA could really enter the bloodstream through contact exposure, since we already know that rarely happens with topical creams and lotions.
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on July 27, 2010




Wow...we use these where I work. My boss is very receptive to ideas about curbing possible environmental problems. We've been trying to pressure the company that provides us with our cups to start using a recyclable plastic that doesn't contain BPA, I'm sure that he'd be interested in hearing this.

I'm not concerned about adults too much, but I am concerned about pregnant ladies, babies and smaller children. I've read many studies that showed an increase hermaphroditic adults in groups of larvae and eggs that were exposed to BPa versus controls (most of them studied invertebrates and flathead minnows.) I'll try to find those studies...
posted by schyler523 at 12:05 PM on July 27, 2010


s/many/several
posted by schyler523 at 12:05 PM on July 27, 2010


Worth noting that the American Chemistry Council also runs a website: http://www.bisphenol-a.org whose sole purpose seems to be defending BPA against charges that it might be dangerous. I only skimmed the site, but it doesn't appear to present anything resembling a balanced argument.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


So why is BPA in receipt paper in the first place?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:07 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bisphenol-A? WE WILL NOT LET YOU GO. (Let him go!)
posted by norm at 12:08 PM on July 27, 2010 [31 favorites]


Lutoslawki, you beat me to that reference by five minutes. Here's the donut receipt joke performed by a five year old.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:09 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Given that every place you shop seems intent on foisting "loyalty" cards of one type or another on you anyway, it seems like it ought to be a no-brainer to do away with paper receipts for a large majority of retail purchases and just use the tracking cards for determining refund/exchange issues and let people who need receipts for reimbursements print them out from the retailer's website. Et voila!
posted by briank at 12:12 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


So why is BPA in receipt paper in the first place?

The chemistry of some carbonless copy papers and thermal papers relies on BPA to work:
While working at Polaroid Corp. for more than a decade, John C. Warner learned about the chemistry behind some carbonless copy papers (now used for most credit card receipts) and the thermal imaging papers that are spit out by most modern cash registers. Both relied on bisphenol-A.

Manufacturers would coat a powdery layer of this BPA onto one side of a piece of paper together with an invisible ink, he says. “Later, when you applied pressure or heat, they would merge together and you’d get color.”

At the time, back in the ‘90s, he thought little about the technology other than it was clever. But when BPA exploded into the news, about a decade ago, Warner began to develop some doubts.

posted by zarq at 12:13 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ooops, I didn't mean hermaphroditic up there, I meant gonadal inhibition...

Here's (at least the abstract) of one of the studies I mentioned: Reproductive effects of long-term exposure to Bisphenol A in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas).
posted by schyler523 at 12:13 PM on July 27, 2010


"EWG’s lab tests found high concentrations of BPA in ...... the U.S. House of Representatives cafeteria."

"The good news is that other well-known outlets, including ...... the U.S. Senate cafeteria, appear to be using receipt paper without BPA."


It's an elitist conspiracy!
posted by Cheminatrix at 12:13 PM on July 27, 2010


it doesn't appear to present anything resembling a balanced argument. -- it's a hot button issue. People are either for BPA or rabidly against it. There's really no place for balance. I mean, when the FDA says it's ok, but the people opposed to it say that the FDA is in the pocket of big business, where is there room to have a balanced discussion?
posted by crunchland at 12:14 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Given that every place you shop seems intent on foisting "loyalty" cards of one type or another on you anyway, it seems like it ought to be a no-brainer to do away with paper receipts for a large majority of retail purchases and just use the tracking cards for determining refund/exchange issues and let people who need receipts for reimbursements print them out from the retailer's website. Et voila!

There is a service which does this: allEtronic. I came across it a couple of weeks ago, and was planning on creating an FPP about it... but haven't had the time yet.
posted by zarq at 12:16 PM on July 27, 2010


Our library just got rid of the BPA paper for receipts and whatnot. I tend to be a worrier and since I touched that paper all the time I wonder what kind of lasting damage has been done.
posted by morganannie at 12:16 PM on July 27, 2010


I am so exhausted and undercaffeinated that all I am taking away from this entire discussion is the suspicion that eating taxi receipts might make me grow a fish penis. :/
posted by elizardbits at 12:19 PM on July 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Tragically, once again, no one thinks of the incredible sacrifice accountants make each year to calculate eligible deductible expenses.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:20 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's really no place for balance.

Sure there is. They could have easily spoken about studies which have given results that people are concerned about. Instead, it appears they ignored them completely. At least, I didn't see them addressed in a cursory read-through. I could have missed something.

There are plenty of well-researched articles online regarding BPA which all say the same thing: The jury's still out on BPA. It seems prudent to buy BPA-free when you can -- especially if those products are being used by infants or pregnant women. But until we know more, don't panic and don't blow the situation out of proportion.
posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on July 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I suspect this raises more questions than answers.

While this might annoy journalists, in science this is often considered a feature rather than a bug.
posted by aught at 12:23 PM on July 27, 2010 [3 favorites]




Will this BPA kill me faster than the Chicken McNuggets?

and...it vibrates, yes?
posted by jquinby at 12:26 PM on July 27, 2010


It's a giant experiment. Humans as rats. Only when we can prove beyond all reasonable doubt that millions of people have been impacted will the FDA enact regulation. Until then, businesses have the benefit of the doubt.
posted by stbalbach at 12:27 PM on July 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


There is a service which does this: allEtronic. I came across it a couple of weeks ago, and was planning on creating an FPP about it... but haven't had the time yet.

They actually mention this BPA survey on their retailer page.

(I was looking around their site trying to find a list of retailers and had zero luck. Isn't that relevant?)
posted by smackfu at 12:30 PM on July 27, 2010


zarq: There are plenty of well-researched articles online regarding BPA which all say the same thing: The jury's still out on BPA.

Agreed, but it's probably better to be safe than sorry, especially when there are alternatives that work just as well.
posted by schyler523 at 12:32 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The EWG’s analysis could help explain why the chemical has been found in the urine of about 93 percent of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "

Doesn't the very fact that it's found in your urine indicate that it passes through your system?


Yes, but that doesn't mean it doesn't do damage while it's there, or that it doesn't build up in other tissues.
posted by Etrigan at 12:32 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


zarq: "There are plenty of well-researched articles online regarding BPA which all say the same thing: The jury's still out on BPA. It seems prudent to buy BPA-free when you can -- especially if those products are being used by infants or pregnant women. But until we know more, don't panic and don't blow the situation out of proportion."

The jury was out for decades on tetraethyl lead, asbestos, and cigarettes. The smart thing to do still would've been to avoid those things like the plague before the jury returned from their deliberations. The information we do have about BPA paints a picture that's just as scary as the three aforementioned items.

As for skin contact and absorbtion: It really doesn't matter if it's absorbing or not. If you have it on your skin and you touch your lips, pick your nose, rub your eyes, it's going to end up in your body. If you're a cashier it's a safe bet that your hands are completely covered in BPA every day you work.
posted by mullingitover at 12:34 PM on July 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I am constantly seeking ways to gently let the cashier-person know I don't want a receipt, from purchasing gas to groceries to a tube of toothpaste. I cannot fathom people's interest in them. If this helps rid society of the expected notion of being handed a scrap of trash every time you cross paths with a vendor then all the better.
posted by docpops at 12:36 PM on July 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


So not only do I have to stop eating receipts, but I also have to stop drinking urine?!

That's why I get my human urine imported from the rain forest.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:37 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"...the chemical can be detected in the urine of an estimated 93 percent of Americans..." Who did the testing? When? Were you tested? I wasn't. Who did the estimation? Based on what size of sample? Is this just one of those periodic scares?
posted by Cranberry at 12:41 PM on July 27, 2010


Goddamit. Now what will I use when I run out of rolling papers.
posted by Esoquo at 12:41 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


But until we know more, don't panic and don't blow the situation out of proportion.

Keep consuming.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:42 PM on July 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


I am constantly seeking ways to gently let the cashier-person know I don't want a receipt, from purchasing gas to groceries to a tube of toothpaste. I cannot fathom people's interest in them

Expenses for tax purposes?
posted by rokusan at 12:43 PM on July 27, 2010


Expenses for tax purposes?

For my laptop, maybe. For my hot dog? Probably not. Although if there was some way to write off hot dogs, that would be awesome.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 12:45 PM on July 27, 2010


There are plenty of well-researched articles online regarding BPA which all say the same thing: The jury's still out on BPA.

Could you link a few? It's a pretty classic tactic of entrenched interests to pretend that things are undecided when in fact they are not. There are some CEI-types interested in muddying the waters (e.g. stats.org).
posted by Jpfed at 12:46 PM on July 27, 2010


All the more reason to move to asking the consumer whether they want a receipt rather than automatically having one print out for each transaction.
posted by *s at 12:46 PM on July 27, 2010


This is why I shoplift.
posted by applemeat at 12:48 PM on July 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


(If I am traveling for business, and I have a hot dog, damn straight I get that BPA-covered receipt.)
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:49 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


HAMBURGLAR
posted by applemeat at 12:49 PM on July 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


crap. anybody but me use receipts to floss with when you can't find anything else and there's this little sliver of pulled pork between your teeth?
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:53 PM on July 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well, toodleydoodley, I was all ready to write it off as 'I don't eat receipts,' until I realized I do the same thing.

Can I blame it for my increased depression near carbonless triplicate forms?
posted by cobaltnine at 12:58 PM on July 27, 2010


This explains why all my local Safeway cashiers are giant hermaphroditic newts.
posted by benzenedream at 12:58 PM on July 27, 2010 [18 favorites]


Could you link a few?

Well, I'll link one. WebMD is pretty mainstream, and their articles are either written or vetted by medical professionals. I am a publicist, and am quite aware that unbiased sources are a rarity.

Google has additional links available in a search for "Jury still out bpa," but I have little interest in reviewing each to determine how biased it may or may not be.

It's a pretty classic tactic of entrenched interests to pretend that things are undecided when in fact they are not. There are some CEI-types interested in muddying the waters (e.g. stats.org).

With regard to BPA, are you asserting that the situation is decided, then? This brings me back to my original questions. Have conclusive, large-scale studies shown that BPA contact exposure is dangerous, and if so, how much topical exposure are we talking about?
posted by zarq at 1:01 PM on July 27, 2010


From the WP link: Appleton Papers, the nation's largest manufacturer of "thermal papers," the type often used for receipts, dropped BPA from its formulation in 2006 out of growing concerns about the safety of the chemical, said Kent Willetts, the company's vice president of strategic development. "We just realized we'd rather move away from it sooner than later," Willetts said.

How refreshing is that? Seriously, think about how often companies resist this sort of change in the name of saving money, using biased, unethical studies or simple doubt to excuse dangerous business practices. Appleton Papers seems to value the public's health more than maximizing profit, and for that I wish them much success.
posted by millions at 1:02 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Guess I should not have been inhaling all of that rat poison with a rolled-up receipt, then. You learn something new every day, until you die from BPA exposure.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:03 PM on July 27, 2010


That's why I get my human urine imported from the rain forest.

I hate to break it to you, but that rainforest human urine is more than 90% piss!
posted by Mister_A at 1:04 PM on July 27, 2010


Could you link a few?

BPA Not Linked to Ill Effects in 2 Studies - WebMD
Germany backs bisphenol A in baby bottles - Food Production Daily
Stop using babies as lobbyists - Financial Post
Bisphenol A: Hearts versus minds - Food Production Daily
posted by crunchland at 1:06 PM on July 27, 2010


This explains why all my local Safeway cashiers are giant hermaphroditic newts.

They were at Giant too! But they got better.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:08 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The jury was out for decades on tetraethyl lead, asbestos, and cigarettes.

Excellent point.

The smart thing to do still would've been to avoid those things like the plague before the jury returned from their deliberations. The information we do have about BPA paints a picture that's just as scary as the three aforementioned items.

That's extremely helpful. Thank you for clarifying.

We went as BPA free as possible when my kids were born. Are still continuing to do so.

Speaking as a parent, sometimes it's hard to cut through the sensationalist scary bullshit and try quantify the ways I should realistically minimize my family's exposure.

As for skin contact and absorbtion: It really doesn't matter if it's absorbing or not. If you have it on your skin and you touch your lips, pick your nose, rub your eyes, it's going to end up in your body.

OK. And the question I ask above is just how concerned about that we should be.

If you're a cashier it's a safe bet that your hands are completely covered in BPA every day you work.

At stores that use BPA-covered receipts, yes certainly.
posted by zarq at 1:12 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having read much of the literature on BPA previously, I'm pretty convinced that it's one of those things that isn't much of an issue for adults, but probably isn't great for infants and children (and by extension, nursing mothers). And that's ingested.

I ate a few thermal receipts as a child, and I seem to have suffered no ill effects. Still don't really want to eat a bunch of the stuff now, though.
posted by wierdo at 1:13 PM on July 27, 2010


You know those receipts that people ask for out of ATMs/Cash machines? In what situation would one of those receipts actually be useful? I suspect they're just paper placebos originally intended to make people feel more comfortable about getting money out of a machine, back 20 years ago when it was a new thing. Like if the machine went down, and there was no electronic record of the transaction anywhere, would the receipt prove anything? I suspect not... I've been meaning to post an Ask about this ...
posted by memebake at 1:16 PM on July 27, 2010


(I was looking around their site trying to find a list of retailers and had zero luck. Isn't that relevant?)

Yeah, that's why I wanted to research them before turning them into an FPP. They've been around since 2008, but who they've partnered with wasn't immediately apparent.
posted by zarq at 1:17 PM on July 27, 2010


You know, if you ask them, they'll give you napkins. You don't need to wrap your hamburgers in your receipt.
posted by qvantamon at 1:20 PM on July 27, 2010


Yet another reason not to let the kids use your credit card.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:22 PM on July 27, 2010


what happened to that cute Batista around the corner or the friendly clerk who always remembered your order at the sandwich shop? Did they quit? Leave town? Move on to sunnier prospects?

Look beneath the Hudon, past the dead mobsters and rusting cars and the remains of the Philadelphia project, go deep into the dark to uncover the world of the ex-retail merfolk, floating silently in the grim twilight, feasting on oysters and fish, waiting to take thieir revenge on a world that cast them into the cold, cold waves.
posted by The Whelk at 1:22 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The ATM receipts are handy because they show your total account balance. Generally the machines don't display that on screen during the course of the withdrawal (because they don't connect up and get the information until they're actually processing the withdrawal?). So if I want to withdraw $50 and also see how much money I have left, looking at the receipt saves me a separate transaction at the machine. Without it, I'd have to do a withdrawal and then do a balance-check. Some machines even charge for that.

Granted, as more and more people have smartphones, they can just connect to their bank directly to see their balance, so it's a declining use case.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:27 PM on July 27, 2010


So let me get this straight: for the last hundred years or more, we've been leveraging (often) poorly-understood chemicals to create products and services that make our lives easier and make lots of people money, and as we learn more about these chemicals and discover they're potentially or known to be harmful to living things, the folks whose lives are made easier are pissed but keep on using the convenience while the people who have been making money say it's being overblown and keep right on selling the products/services?

As a species, we do a lot of cool stuff, but sometimes I think our self-preservation instinct has not evolved to match our world-manipulation capacities.
posted by davejay at 1:31 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and coming soon (or not): packaging and consumer products (non-food) printed with the chemicals and other ingredients used in their manufacture.
posted by davejay at 1:34 PM on July 27, 2010


er, printed with a list of those chemicals and other ingredients, that is.
posted by davejay at 1:34 PM on July 27, 2010


Is this something I would need money to buy things to understand?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:39 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


what happened to that cute Batista around the corner

Pretty sure ol' Fulgencio got his ass kicked out of Cuba, the same night that Michael told Fredo he had broken his heart.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:41 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Irked to read this. I collect receipts because Washington has a substantial sales tax, and it saves a lot on taxes to keep a record of sales tax on store transactions. Once I've input the receipts into my Quicken account, I file them, which means I suppose that I touch them at least three times -- on receiving them, when reviewing them to enter them in Quicken, and when filing them. I'll be washing my hands that much more often now.
posted by bearwife at 1:49 PM on July 27, 2010


Now why don't you just take it easy, Group Captain, and please make me a drink of grain alcohol and rainwater, and help yourself to whatever you'd like.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 1:52 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The jokes about not eating receipts or drinking your own urine are all very funny'n'all, but I suspect I'm not the only Mefite who a) keeps his wallet in a pants pocket and b) has a bunch of thermal-paper receipts in it at any given time.

Besides the question of individual exposure, consider how many of these receipts end up in the garbage every day, and the potential effects on groundwater. Without being hysterical or jumping to conclusions, this is potentially a significant public health expense and is worth investigating for that reason alone.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:56 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The first time I heard about BPA was in the late 90s when a customer brought in an article, concerned that we were using BPA-containing plastic wrap on our cheese. I passed it up the chain to corporate. She came back a few weeks later to see what the feedback was. Our regional office wasn't concerned. The customer was livid; she couldn't believe we weren't taking action. Where was I working?

Whole Foods Market.

Whenever I opened a piece to give a sample, I did plane off the surface of the cheese, not because I had any particular reason to be concerned, but because the wrap made the cheese it was in contact was taste awful. But all plastic wrap does.

Anyhow, I'm glad there's more attention to the issue than there was a dozen years ago, but reading between the lines on this article, I had some of the same questions about what the appropriate level of concern/course of action is as Huron Bob and zarq-the-publicist-concerned-about-sources. It's noted that the level of BPA contained in receipts is far higher than in food can liners, and the quote in the Post article seems to imply danger from a receipt "lying against an apple," but isn't the concern with canned food somewhat the degree of contact, like in conjunction with the acid in canned tomatoes? I ask this in all seriousness.

Oh also, esoquo, someone I know (seriously, not me, someone I know) told me that when faced with a rolling paper crisis in a hotel room, they tore the endpapers out of a Gideon Bible. It apparently worked a treat, although they admitted they were sure they were going straight to hell for it.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:02 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


benzenedream: "This explains why all my local Safeway cashiers are giant hermaphroditic newts."

"We can't shop here! This is newt country!"
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:02 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


crunchland- The question was asking for well-researched articles.

BPA Not Linked to Ill Effects in 2 Studies - WebMD
One of the studies mentioned was funded by the plastics industry and did not look at sexual dysfunction.

Germany backs bisphenol A in baby bottles - Food Production Daily
This doesn't cite anything or tell us what informed Germany's decision

Stop using babies as lobbyists - Financial Post
Hilariously, this article was written by a lobbyist

Bisphenol A: Hearts versus minds - Food Production Daily
Does not actually cite anything; the article is purely rhetorical.
posted by Jpfed at 2:06 PM on July 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Stop using babies as lobbyists - Financial Post
Hilariously, this article was written by a lobbyist


Bet he was just upset about the competition. Why hire expensive unattractive balding lobbyists when you can get babies?
posted by zachlipton at 2:09 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am constantly seeking ways to gently let the cashier-person know I don't want a receipt, from purchasing gas to groceries to a tube of toothpaste. I cannot fathom people's interest in them.

If you check your receipt once in a while, you'll know. My wife does so obsessively and finds $$$ discrepancies probably 2-3 times/month. Rarely in her favor, of course.
posted by DU at 2:22 PM on July 27, 2010


If you check your receipt once in a while, you'll know. My wife does so obsessively and finds $$$ discrepancies probably 2-3 times/month. Rarely in her favor, of course.
posted by DU at 2:22 PM on July 27 [+] [!]


I expect you are right. Still not worth it by a long shot.
posted by docpops at 2:28 PM on July 27, 2010


( Jpfed : I realize that this is a holy war -- more emotion than fact -- and that I probably won't be able to find any definitive articles that will pass muster, but I will keep trying. If you have any integrity, please feel free to look for yourself.)

Scientists declare war over BPA - The Independant

Richard Sharpe: Let common sense guide you in the saga of bisphenol A - The Independant

Update on Bisphenol A for Use in Food Contact Applications: January 2010 - USFDA

Bisphenol-A - The Real Story of Urban Legends, Lies and Half-Truths - A Consumer Truth Report - Ezine Articles.
posted by crunchland at 2:55 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


it's a hot button issue. People are either for BPA or rabidly against it.

I'm neither for it nor rabidly against it. My feelings about BPA could probably best be summed up as: "Meh."
posted by rusty at 2:58 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am constantly seeking ways to gently let the cashier-person know I don't want a receipt, from purchasing gas to groceries to a tube of toothpaste. I cannot fathom people's interest in them.

I always used to feel this way, but now I'm a contractor and I can write off everything. So after a lifelong habit of politely declining receipts, I now have to remember to ask for them.

This allEtronic thing looks pretty great in theory, but, like someone upthread said, there's no list of vendors? How do we know what stores this will cover? If I buy something at the coffee shop across the street can I find it there? Do I really want to give these guys all my credit card numbers?

Modern life is hard.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 3:26 PM on July 27, 2010


I realize that this is a holy war -- more emotion than fact -- and that I probably won't be able to find any definitive articles that will pass muster, but I will keep trying.

Sounds like you've reached your conclusion before you've even begun. I, for one, am simply concerned about BPA and would like regulatory agencies to do their due diligence. Seems like a pretty rational position to me, but maybe I'm just being emotional.
posted by mek at 3:31 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: gonadal inhibition.
posted by loquacious at 3:45 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


would like regulatory agencies to do their due diligence

Well, the regulatory agencies have looked into it. Whether or not they have done enough or listened to the right people is the debate. Both the EU and US agencies concluded it was safe, at least at one point.

As someone without children, I'm firmly in the meh camp. There's almost no evidence it harms adults. Most of my friends with kids have gotten rid of their BPA stuff, and I can't see any harm in that either.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:52 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Still not worth it by a long shot.

To what does "it" refer in this sentence? The existence of paper receipts?
posted by DU at 5:16 PM on July 27, 2010


Obviously this is a conspiracy to encourage the outlawing of all paper-based transaction records, which will help the push toward 100% electronic commerce, which of course will be processed via the mandatory RFID chip implant in your head or your right hand.

BPA = 666
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:19 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Victorians had a damn hard time with their own insidious industrial comtaminant: The Arsenic Century. I'm more than halfway through it now. It can be a bit academic at times, but it's a disturbing, if imperfect, analog.
posted by NortonDC at 8:52 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


My endocrine hurts now.
posted by rhizome at 12:42 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guess I better stop feeding the baby shredded receipts.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:07 AM on July 28, 2010


Irked to read this. I collect receipts because Washington has a substantial sales tax, and it saves a lot on taxes to keep a record of sales tax on store transactions. Once I've input the receipts into my Quicken account, I file them, which means I suppose that I touch them at least three times -- on receiving them, when reviewing them to enter them in Quicken, and when filing them. I'll be washing my hands that much more often now.

So instead of pointing out how you're kind of freaking out here, I'll instead point out that you could just wear gloves instead.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:34 AM on July 28, 2010


I, for one, am simply concerned about BPA and would like regulatory agencies to do their due diligence. -- Why do you think they might not be doing their due diligence?
posted by crunchland at 3:02 AM on July 28, 2010


Why do I think the FDA does not do its due diligence? I could pick any one of a hundred incidents in the last decade, I suppose.
posted by mek at 3:50 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why do you think they might not be doing their due diligence?

The FDA has serious problems with honesty. Most recently it is in hot water over conflicts of interest with GSK and a rival over a diabetes drug known to cause serious side effects:

The FDA's experience with Avandia is quite a saga. Two years ago a prominent study revealed that Avandia, a drug used to control blood sugar in diabetics, posed a risk of heart attacks. Then it came out that Avandia's producer, GlaxoSmithKline, hid other data about the risk of heart attacks from the FDA. Two weeks ago an advisory committee of the FDA voted to keep Avandia on the market despite its side effects, evoking sharp reactions from consumer groups and academics. And last week it came out that one of the advisory committee members was a paid speaker for GlaxoSmithKline and another was a paid speaker for its competitor Takeda Phamaceuticals. The FDA knew this but did not inform the committee.

Please forgive people some of their skepticism about what the FDA says about how Bisphenol-A causes no ill effects, considering that its approval panels are often made up by individuals who receive compensation from industry for guiding regulatory decisions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:11 AM on July 28, 2010


I could pick any one of a hundred incidents in the last decade -- Could you cite one or two, please?

Specifically, could you please cite instances where the FDA has tested a given substance, and found that it posed little or no risk; and where independent science has tested a given substance and found that it posed little or no risk; and where the governmental analogs of the US FDA in other countries have investigated and found that the substance posed little or no risk; but where it's been determined that all of that science was wrong?
posted by crunchland at 4:20 AM on July 28, 2010


*sigh*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:25 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


crunchland: Here you go.
posted by mek at 5:33 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


This explains why all my local Safeway cashiers are giant hermaphroditic newts.

They were at Giant too! But they got better.


You mean they became rabid giant hermaphroditic newt zombies?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:46 AM on July 28, 2010


Well, not to be picky, mek, but you did say "in the last decade," and the issue you pointed to took place 50 years ago. But, point taken.
posted by crunchland at 7:03 AM on July 28, 2010


Crunchland, there are many cases of science getting interactions and side-effects of drugs tragically wrong, but your specific caveats-- about independent scientists coming to the same wrong conclusions-- are extremely unlikely, given current testing protocols. That being said, Fen-phen comes to mind, as does the more recent ongoing issues involving Avandia. It's pretty hard to maintain the best policy approach to such drugs (approve the ones that work after rigorous testing) when the testing is up to the companies and they can and do bury studies that don't show benefit and/or show harm.

I'm not sure what that has to do with BPA, though, except that they have in common a series of weak correlative studies and no major independent studies for causation on the bad effects.
posted by norm at 7:32 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Behind me sits a plastic bin of appreciable size filled to almost overflowing with receipts.

Before this month is over, I will be going through said bin with gloves to finally sort, toss, and file these bits of paper, 90% of which are the type apparently covered in endocrine-disruptors.

Thanks for the scary motivation, Science!
posted by batmonkey at 12:45 PM on July 28, 2010


Thank you, Washington Post!
I clicked, asking myself "what might this bisphenol-A be?", and... (*applause)

What an informative, edifying and evocative testimony, clearly the fruit of unbiased research and peer review, all amazingly accordianized into TWO WORDS. "Endocrine disrupting"? Oh. No-- that's obviously not nearly vague enough. They stick with "controversial chemical" (re-read the first paragraph, then come back and tell me that I'm exaggerating).

Then, all that follows is much substance-void scare-tactic schlock from a Leftist-weekly tabloid.

please see 'Penn And Teller Get Hippies To Sign Water Banning Petition'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi3erdgVVTw

When you hear the words "recent study", prepare for entertainment. As long as you keep jerking your knee whenever some asshole organization holds up some stranger as a puppet for this hour's urban legend, they'll keep thrusting them in front of you.
posted by herbplarfegan at 5:11 PM on July 28, 2010


crunchland: Here you go.

Not to nitpick, but that was a pretty crappy choice. From your own link:

The impact in the United States was minimized when pharmacologist and M.D. Frances Oldham Kelsey refused Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for an application from Richardson Merrell to market thalidomide, saying further studies were needed. And although thalidomide was never approved for sale in the United States, millions of tablets had been distributed to physicians during a clinical testing program. It was impossible to know how many pregnant women had been given the drug to help alleviate morning sickness or as a sedative.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:11 PM on July 28, 2010


Sorry, I'm not going to accept nitpicking until crunchland starts paying me research-slave wages.
posted by mek at 9:00 PM on July 28, 2010


Well, if there's anyone out there still willing to have an open mind, here's a pretty good overview that seems pretty fair and balanced, written by Steven Novella (of Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast fame).

Bisphenol A in Plastics – Should We Worry? -- Science Based Medicine
posted by crunchland at 10:18 PM on July 28, 2010


Well, if there's anyone out there still willing to have an open mind

Said without a hint of irony.
posted by mek at 11:01 PM on July 28, 2010


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