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Ohio academics investigate BPA exposure from till receipts

A research group in the US is finalising work on a new study to examine the elevated exposure of check out workers to bisphenol A (BPA).

Despite an absence of conclusive proof, the food contact materials industry continues to face to allegations that BPA is an endocrine disrupting compound and hence should not be used in any packaging applications.

The new study is examining a different source for exposure – thermally printed receipt papers handed to consumers in shops.

The group from the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) at Ohio State University chose to study supermarket workers, who can handle hundreds of such receipts during a long shift.

Lead researcher Liesel Seryak says: ‘The body is very efficient at excreting BPA in urine within just a few hours, and exposures are generally orders of magnitude below safety limits set by governments. However, we don’t have a lot of information about certain populations that might have greater exposure because their occupation requires them to handle objects containing BPA.’

‘Previous studies have estimated that a cashier working for 10 hours a day handling BPA-coated receipts could be exposed to higher amounts of BPA than the average person, but there have been very few controlled studies done to get an actual measurement of exposure.’

The Ohio State study recruited 25 cashiers and six non-cashiers. Both ate specially prepared food bought in BPA-free packaging materials, so as the data obtained could home in on any exposure caused by the receipts.

Seryak and her colleagues have released initial findings. They report their tactics to ‘control dietary exposure of BPA were successful,’ and the ‘the results also indicate that fewer and fewer companies appear to be using BPA-coated receipts.’

They intend to publish their full findings ‘within a few months.’

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.