“Do You Require a Receipt?” Maybe NOT!

by Monique Helou – RHN, RHC, MPH | November 8, 2022 |

You've just finished shopping at an upmarket natural foods store, where you stocked up on organic vegetables and meats, and you're feeling fantastic as you head to the register. You've done "everything right" for your health, but as soon as the cashier delivers you the receipt, the skin on your hands has undoubtedly been exposed to Bisphenol-A or BPA and you already jeopardized your health.


So, what is BPA?

BPA, a known disruptor of the endocrine system, is present in food packaging and other plastics. In numerous ways, BPA is detrimental to human health, according to studies. It has estrogen-like properties that disrupt hormonal equilibrium. According to research on rodents, BPA causes cancer, reproductive abnormalities, and impairments in metabolic and immune health. BPA is particularly toxic to a developing fetus, increasing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities, miscarriage, and genetic damage. In addition, it has been linked to: poorer sperm quality, early puberty reproductive dysfunction, Breast & Prostate cancer, Heart disease, Thyroid issues, insulin resistance/ Diabetes, Obesity, and ADHD and this simply by handling thermal paper receipts containing BPA. According to Dr. John Warner of the Warner Babcock Institute of Green Chemistry: "A single thermal paper receipt contains more BPA than the whole quantity that would leak out of a polycarbonate water bottle after many years of use." Fortunately, its use in baby bottles and sippy cups is prohibited.


How to Identify a Receipt Containing BPA?

Printing on thermal paper is the determining factor. If you scrape the printed side of the paper and observe a dark mark, the printout is thermal.


BPA is one of the most prevalent and frequently overlooked autoimmune trigger:

It is essential for those with Hashimoto's to minimize their exposure to plastics and BPA. BPA is also a known disruptor of the thyroid and estrogen endocrine systems (hormones). Endocrine disruptors are substances that bind to hormone receptors and interfere with hormone synthesis, receptor signaling, and gene expression.

Plastic products exposed to heat or acidic chemicals are one of the worst sources of BPA exposure, making plastic coffee lids and beverage bottles the primary offenders.

In addition, small amounts of BPA are used to insulate the coating of paper cups. If you have Hashimoto's disease or autoimmunity, simply avoid using the lid and, better yet, brew your own coffee or tea in glass or ceramic cups. 

Plastic bottles should also be avoided, especially if they are heated or contain an acidic beverage such as soda or fruit juice. You should never consume an acidic beverage from a plastic bottle, as it will contain high levels of BPA.

 Therefore, if you're looking for ways to improve your thyroid function, limiting your exposure to plastics is a good place to start.


Let us elaborate, …

BPA (bisphenol-A) is the primary component of polycarbonate. One source of BPA that can be absorbed through the skin is store receipts in addition to:


  • Plastic beverage bottles, particularly if the bottles have been exposed to heat, light, or acids (such as soda)
  • Plastic coffee lids
  • Plastic food storage containers especially when heated
  • Plastic Straws
  • Dental sealants
  • Contact lenses
  • Electronics
  • Fast food receipts
  • ATM receipts
  • Airline tickets
  • Gas station receipts
  • Lottery tickets
  • Fax papers
  • Cash that has been stored with receipts
  • Soup can


Here are few strategies to avoid BPA exposure through paper receipts:

  • If asked if you would like a receipt for any purchase, the answer is no. Respond with a courteous no and instead request an e-receipt, as this is the safest and healthiest option. If you do not anticipate returning anything or have a need for the receipt for accounting purposes, refusing it is the simplest method to avoid exposure. Numerous locations now offer email receipts as an option. If you need a plane card or movie ticket, use your smartphone rather than printing it, and wherever possible, shop online.


  • Request that the cashier places the receipt in the bag. It is not an ideal option, as you will still need to handle the receipt afterwards and it may rub off on your meals or things. However, you can handle the receipt in your own method at a later time and location. Avoid placing receipts in bags with unwrapped or uncooked food.


  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before eating after handling receipts and before eating in general.


  • Keep a tiny pouch or resealable plastic bag in your purse and request that cashiers place your receipts inside. You can still collect and keep receipts, but you do not need to physically touch the receipt to do so. Keeping the receipts wrapped and together prevents BPA from transferring to other purse items you will also be handling.


  • If your employment requires you to routinely handle thermal paper, you should use nitrile gloves to limit your exposure. Request that your organization consider switching to a receipt system that uses non-thermal paper or provides paperless options for customers.


What About Using Hand Sanitizer with BPA-Containing Receipts?

You may believe that cleansing your hands with hand sanitizer while out running errands would be an effective strategy to combat this issue. According to Laura Vandenberg, an endocrine disruptor researcher at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, a 2014 study indicated that the use of hand sanitizer "opens up your skin to allow BPA to enter right away." In fact, using hand sanitizer prior to handling a receipt may increase BPA absorption by a ratio of 100 or higher.

Having lotions, sunscreens, or other moisturizing substances on your hands can also have the same effect. In addition, if your hands are wet or greasy, your skin will absorb ten times more.


In conclusion, 

  • For the sake of your health, you should avoid taking receipts, as they have several negative health effects.
  • People with Hashimoto's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune illnesses must minimize their exposure to this toxin. Unfortunately, "BPA-free" items are not a green signal either. Many plastics without BPA also contain synthetic estrogens. If you have Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, it is better to avoid plastic and utilize non-toxic alternatives such as glass, ceramic, and metal.








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