Cashiers and retail workers have a challenging and critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic: while many of us are staying home, they put their health at risk to ensure we have the groceries and supplies we need. Companies have a responsibility to ensure that cashiers and other workers are paid fairly and protected from workplace hazards, including hormone-disrupting chemicals on receipts.
Loblaw bans hormone-disrupting BPA and BPS on receipts
In its latest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, Loblaw Companies Limited committed to phasing out receipt paper containing bisphenols, like BPA and BPS, by the end of this year! This includes all of Loblaw’s subsidiary companies like No Frills, Shoppers Drug Mart and T&T. This is a move that will protect thousands of workers and prevent millions of toxic receipts from entering landfills or the recycling stream. And it’s all thanks to your support! Over 6000 of you took action asking Loblaw to take action – and they listened. Now, we’re calling on Metro, Sobeys and Walmart Canada to follow suit and phase out BPA & BPS-coated receipts too!
Loblaw notified Environmental Defence staff of this commitment in its feedback to the draft evaluation conducted as part of the fifth annual Who’s Minding the Store? retailer report card, which will be published in the first quarter of 2021.
The Hidden Cost of Receipts
Two years ago, we published a report containing alarming research which suggested that handling receipts regularly over a typical work shift as a cashier may increase the concentrations of BPA and BPS by more than 100-fold. These chemicals are typically added to receipt paper to facilitate the thermal printing process, a process that relies on heat printing as opposed to ink. This is troubling because BPA and BPS is widely known for its hormone disrupting effects and is linked to a wide range of health issues including diabetes, obesity, ADHD in children and hormone-based cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.
Troubled by these results, we partnered with Breast Cancer Action Quebec, the Mind the Store Campaign and United Food and Commercial Workers Canada to call on Canada’s leading grocery retailers (Costco Canada, Loblaw, Metro, Sobeys and Walmart Canada) to eliminate the use of receipt paper coated with BPA, BPS or other bisphenols.
Costco Canada becomes the first Canadian grocery retailer to phase out BPA and BPS on receipts
The company became the second company out of the five retailers we’re calling on to commit to ditching bisphenol receipts after Costco Canada publicly indicated in October 2019 that it would switch to BPA and BPS-free receipts by the end of 2019.
Last summer, we commissioned lab testing which verified that Costco had indeed switched to a bisphenol-free alternative. The testing also confirmed that Loblaw, Metro, Sobeys and Walmart Canada had continued to use BPS-coated receipts.
The decisions by Costco and Loblaw leave no excuse for Sobeys, Metro and Walmart Canada to not follow suit as bisphenol-free alternatives have become more readily available and feasible, especially for companies that make billions of dollars in revenue every year, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We urge Metro, Sobeys and Walmart Canada to take immediate steps to commit to phasing out bisphenol-receipts and complete the transition to a safer alternative by the end of 2021.
Achieving progress like this isn’t possible without your support. Please consider making a donation to our campaign. Thank you!