News / Edmonton

Touching receipts leads to more BPA exposure than eating it

New research from the University of Alberta found the toxic chemical remains in your blood stream up to a week.

New research from the University of Alberta suggests more study may be warranted of the amount of BPA on the things we touch -- specifically, paper receipts.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

New research from the University of Alberta suggests more study may be warranted of the amount of BPA on the things we touch -- specifically, paper receipts.

Almost a decade ago, concerns over consuming trace amounts of BPA, or Bispenol-A, prompted people across the country to throw out their water bottles, and the Canadian government to ban it in the production of sippy cups.

But new research from the University of Alberta suggests more study may be warranted of the amount of BPA on the things we touch -- specifically, paper receipts.

Liu Jiaying, a PhD candidate in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, found that BPA, which has been linked to prostate and breast cancer, stays in your blood stream longer when you touch it than when you eat it.

She said six student volunteers handle a paper coated with BPA, and found the chemical lingered in their system for a week.

In comparison, when students ate a cookie containing the chemical, their bodies eliminated the BPA within a day.

Jiaying is clear that the amount of BPA exposure from handing a receipt is "far below known toxic threshold levels," she said her findings are important because it shows that skin exposure is more significant than oral exposure.

Most people handle BPA regularly by touching receipts, she explained, because the endless slips of paper you get when you purchase things don't use ink.

"The color showing out on the receipts is due to the chemical reaction on the paper after increasing the temperature," she said, a process that requires BPA.

The federal government officially added BPA to the toxic substances list in 2010.

A recent national survey of chemicals in Canadians’ bodies revealed that the exposure to BPA might be getting worse as more than 90 percent of Canadians still have it in their blood.

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