GLRPPR Sector Resource: Green Chemistry and Design: BPA in Thermal Paper Project
Green Chemistry and Design: BPA in Thermal Paper Project
This MPCA project is equal parts pollution prevention and solid waste source reduction to reduce bisphenol A (BPA) use in Minnesota. BPA is a reproductive, developmental and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic.
BPA is very useful in thermal papers and is used in thermal papers at point of sale in everyday retail outlets. Because of this, the receipts become an avenue for BPA exposure for all who handle receipts, and a mechanism for spreading BPA through the environment through the recycling stream when receipts are recycled into other paper products.
Recent studies have found that individual thermal receipts from retailers and restaurants can contain a mass of BPA that is 250 to 1,000 times greater than the amount in a can of food. Other studies have confirmed that BPA in thermal papers is easily transferred onto the hands of those who handle the receipt. While the rate of absorption through the skin is not completely certain, those who handle receipts as part of their employment have been found to have higher amounts of BPA in their bodies than other people.
While making paper more costly, protective coatings can reduce the amount of BPA that ends up on human hands. Protective coatings, however, do not keep the BPA from contaminating the recycled paper streamExit to Web and other products.
This project will target the hospitality sector, paper recyclers and other interested partners to:
-- determine how much BPA is contained in the thermal papers used by participating partners,
-- estimate how much BPA is contained in Minnesota's recycled papers,
-- promote switching to paperless point-of sale systems, or as a second-choice option, to switch to BPA-free thermal papers or a non-thermal paper system, and
-- promote use of paperless systems or BPA-free or non-thermal papers to other Minnesota businesses
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Date of Publication:
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