My favorite class in public health school was environmental public health. As the name implies, the class was on the health implications of the various toxins in our environment that we come across in our day-to-day lives. This exposure could come either by breathing them in, ingesting them or absorbing them through our skin.
It was about ten years ago now that a friend of mine received a toxicity screening where it found a significant level of toxins in her body. In thinking through where these toxic exposures could be from, she found out that printed receipts from stores is one little-known source.
Toxic chemicals found on receipts? Yes. It’s why I haven’t grabbed a receipt from a checkout in years.
So, what are these toxins?
Bisphenol-A (BPA) and bisphenol-S (BPS) are the most common ones. They coat the receipt to make them more durable and heat sensitive. But BPA and BPS are also known endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can leach onto your skin when you handle them.
Alcohols and synthetic solvents are also common. Thermal paper may contain alcohols or solvents used in the manufacturing process to dissolve dyes and other components.
Other chemicals such as stabilizers, binders, or additives can make up the composition of thermal paper coatings, which varies by manufacturer.
The good news is that you only receive very small micro-doses of these toxins, if any, from these receipts with each exposure. But this is also the bad news since we are faced with handling receipts often. Today, for example, had five receipts. If that is a daily average, then there would be the possibility of 1,825 micro-exposures each year.
So, what can be done?
Leave the receipt. My first defense, as I mentioned above, is simply to walk away and leave the receipt. For me, this is the easiest strategy. I’ll occasionally have people track me down with my receipt, asking me if I want it. I politely reply, “No, thank you.”
Digital receipt. You can also request a digital receipt when possible.
Wash your hands. If you do touch a receipt, simply avoid touching your mouth or other body parts and wash your hands when at your next opportunity.
Receipts are just one way we’re exposed to toxins every day. There are many others. This is why having a good detoxification strategy is so important. And it’s why I’m such an advocate of taking BrocElite every day since it’s the best detoxifier of any natural compound that I know.