Unknown alarming risks towards human health and environment!

High levels of dangerous chemical BPA found in Cash Receipts

Staff Reporter

Touching cash receipts can significantly increase our body’s uptake of a potentially dangerous chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), study report. Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO publishes its new research report on “BPA in Receipt: Toxin in Finger” in a virtual event today.

According to this study the percentage availability of BPA in Cash Receipts is 0.08% – 3.7% by weight which is higher than the EU’s standard rate 0.02% by weight. Bisphenol A or BPA, an endocrine- disrupting harmful chemical which affects not only the humans but also environment and animals and plants as well. BPA, initially created as an estrogen supplement, has been linked to development problems in infants and children, and cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease in adults, say the researchers.

Researchers says, BPA is broadly used as a plasticizer that is bound in polymers to make plastic bottles and food can liners and on thermal imaging paper used to print credit-card and cash register receipts, point-of-sale receipts, ATM receipts, prescription labels, airline tickets and other machine-generated receipts.

Chief Guest of the event, Md. Ashraf Uddin, Director General of Department of Environment-DoE expressed his concern over the issue and said “The threat arising from BPA in receipts should not be overlooked; he also focuses on public awareness and the steps involved in regulation.
ESDO research team leader Dr. Shahriar Hossain said, Thermal paper is usually used in cash register receipts in restaurants, food stores doing BPA contamination of food from fingers and hands. ‘BPA from thermal paper can be absorbed through the blood faster. At the levels measured in this study, many illnesses like diabetes and disorders like obesity can increase,” he added.

The study revealed that BPA from receipts seeps into the skin, dramatically increasing the amount of BPA in the human body. And the hand disinfectant increased the absorption rate. Additionally, commonly used skin care products also appear to increase the rate of absorption of BPA, the researchers said.
ESDO research team assessed the situation through a baseline survey carried out from February 2019 to January 2020 on total 1350 people (Consumer and retailers) to assess public perception on Bisphenol-A (BPA) in thermal papers used in popular outlets in Bangladesh. Besides, cash receipts have been collected from local shops (Fast food, super shop, restaurants, pharmacy, ATM etc.) and ATM booths of the surveyed areas by ESDO research team. The laboratory tests of thermal papers indicated the presence of BPA in quantities ranging from 10 – 53 μg/cm2 where 0% of the population surveyed was aware of thermal paper containing BPA and its adverse effects.
Session Chair, Former Secretary and ESDO Chairperson Syed Marghub Murshed said the current outlook is based on a review by the ESDO of numerous studies, as well as its in-depth research on BPA, the Govt. must work seriously with this issue and, ESDO will assist the government in integrating the issue of BPA into regulations.
Ms. Keya Khan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change attended the event as Special Guest. She stated that as children and pregnant women are vulnerable to BPA, the health and environmental hazards needs to be assessed and regulated.
Guest of Honor of this event, Md. Enamul Haque, Additional Secretary, Health Service Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare thanked for this initiative to be taken and also called everyone to take necessary steps to look for environmental friendly options immediately.
ESDO Executive Director Siddika Sultana, urged for a proper waste segregation and management for BPA coated receipts to prevent BPA contamination to our drinking water and food.
Prof. Dr. Abu Jafar Mahmud, Former Chairman, Department of Chemistry, University of Dhaka; Prof. Dr. Abul Hashem, Former Chairman, Department of Chemistry, Jahangirnagar University, Masud Iqbal Md. Shameem, Director of DOE; Dr. Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Project Coordinator, Environmental Intervention Unit, icddr,b attended as Guest Speakers respectively. Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Secretary General and Research Team Leader ESDO, moderate the session. Furthermore Govt., NGO and INGO’s officials, Journalists of Print and Electronic Media and other ESDO team members were present at the event.