For immediate release: February 7, 2019

First-of-its-kind Canadian experiment finds body levels of hormone disrupting BPA and BPS spike after handling receipts

Environmental Defence calls on the Canadian government to immediately ban BPA and other bisphenols on receipts to protect cashiers and customers

Toronto, Ont. – An experiment released today and conducted by Environmental Defence shows that cashiers are exposed to significant levels of hormone-disrupting bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS) by handling receipts on the job. These same thermal paper receipts are suspected of contributing greatly to Canadians’ daily exposure to bisphenols.

“To see the levels of BPA and BPS in my body grow upwards of a hundred-fold just from holding receipts is mind boggling,” says Muhannad Malas, Toxics Program Manager at Environmental Defence and one of the experiment participants. “It is even more alarming that this is happening in the bodies of hundreds of thousands of women and teenage cashiers who are more biologically vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals.”

Environmental Defence staff partnered with the co-authors of the best-selling book Slow Death by Rubber Duck to measure their body levels of BPA and BPS following handling receipts for a period of time that is approximate to  a cashier’s total daily interaction with receipts.

All participants experienced significant spikes in body levels of BPA and BPS due to handling receipts and after avoiding all known sources of these chemicals for two weeks. The greatest increase was experienced by a participant who applied hand sanitizer, commonly used by cashiers, whose body levels of BPS grew by a shocking 115 times.

BPA or BPS is added to the chemical mixture that coats thermal paper used for printing receipts, tickets and transit passes. BPS is increasingly replacing BPA on thermal paper but its health impacts are more or less the same according to scientific research.

“What we know is that many companies have moved away from BPA in receipts in the past few years, but have unknowingly switched to BPS receipts that are marketed as BPA-free,” says Malas. “This is a perfect illustration of the failure of Canada’s toxics law to adequately protect Canadians and help businesses replace harmful chemicals with safer ones.”

In light of these findings, Environmental Defence is calling for an immediate government commitment to ban the use of BPA and BPS by 2021 and for the reform of the toxics law, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), to ensure safer alternatives replace banned chemicals.

“The federal government has promised to modernize our toxics law, but these alarming findings need more than promises,” says Malas. “Banning the use of BPA in receipts, like Europe has done, would help a great deal in reducing Canadians’ exposures to this hormone mimicker.”

For the full report, including the results from the experiment, please visit: environmentaldefence.ca/receipts. These results are also featured in the newly released 10th anniversary edition of Slow Death by Rubber Duck.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Sarah Jamal, Environmental Defence, sjamal@environmentaldefence.ca, 416-323-9521 ext. 251 (work), 905-921-7786 (cell)