At PCC Natural Markets, customers have long searched out canned foods produced without the controversial chemical bisphenyl-A. The 10-store co-op sells BPA-free water bottles made from stainless steel.
Now, the markets also feature cash register receipts that are free of BPA and related compound bisphenyl-S, which was used in some cases to replace BPA. Signs at cash registers notify customers that their receipts are now instead made with a “vitamin C-based thermal coating” produced by a Wisconsin company.
In recent years, the company had used a double-sided receipt that was BPA-free but contained BPS. The new receipts are single-sided, which uses more paper, but company officials said the tradeoff was well worth it.
Insert a Portlandia joke here if you like — one commenter on the company’s Facebook page asked “Is it edible?” while another asked whether the vitamin C source was “from actual citrus fruit or… toxic GMOs?” The receipt issue has, though, been a serious one.
The company’s move followed a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year suggesting that cash register receipts were an under-recognized source of BPA exposure, particularly for cashiers. The chemical “has been associated with adverse health outcomes, including reproductive function in adults and neurodevelopment in children exposed perinatally,” the study said.
Concerned about receipts but shopping elsewhere? Here are some Consumer Reports recommendations for avoiding BPA in receipts, including wearing gloves if your job requires frequent contact with receipts, declining to take paper receipts, or storing receipts in a plastic bag rather than loose in a purse or pocket.