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Thermal Paper Receipts - A Health Hazard?

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

In our blog post “What’s in plastics?”, we noted that Switzerland became the first country in Europe to ban bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol A (BPA) from being used in thermal paper in May 2019 while Belgium is evaluating BPS for its suspected endocrine-disrupting, carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic properties.

In January 2020, a European Union-wide ban entered into force on the use of BPA in thermal paper. Illinois became the latest state in the United States of America to ban BPA in thermal paper, which become effective on 1 January 2020.

Common usages of thermal paper that is worth mentioning would be in ATMs slips, point-of-sale (POS) receipts, credit cards slips, parking tickets, lottery tickets and luggage tags.

Why is thermal paper such a health hazard when it is just a piece of paper?

The reason lies in the chemical used for the coating that contains Bisphenol A (BPA) or its cousin variant Bisphenol S (BPS).

When we touch thermal paper receipts, the BPA/BPS on the top coating is transferred to our skin. This is then absorbed into our body through our skin. Based on a study by Jonathan W. Martin of Stockholm University and Jiaying Liu of the University of Alberta, BPA absorbed through the skin is probably metabolized much less efficiently, which could lead to a longer and more toxic exposure.

“There's more BPA in a single thermal paper receipt than the total amount that would leach out from a polycarbonate water bottle used for many years," said John Warner, Ph.D., president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry.

Research has linked BPA to an increased risk of breast and prostate cancers, cardiovascular disease, and prenatal and postnatal brain and reproductive (e.g. early puberty, early menopause) development abnormalities.

BPA and other phenols variants (e.g. BPS) are also known as endocrine disruptors chemicals. The endocrine disruptors chemicals causes chaos to the complex mechanisms of endocrine system in our body. Pituitary gland, reproductive systems, adrenal gland, thyroid gland would be out of sync and when the natural harmony of the systems is imbalance - our health is impacted.

5 Suggestions to Reduce Your Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors Chemicals from thermal paper

You can lower your risk from BPA-coated or other phenol variant (e.g. BPS) coated receipts by taking a few simple precautions:

1. Wear latex glove if your job requires frequent contact with phenol coated receipts.

2. Decline paper receipts and opting for your e-receipts, e-tickets and e-boarding pass if you’re given those choices.

3. Use a paper envelopes to store phenol coated receipts, tickets or boarding pass you need to keep rather than carrying them loose in your wallet, purse or shopping bag. The BPA rub off easily on other items and when you handle those, you’ll be picking up the BPA.

4. Wash your hands as soon as possible after touching phenol coated receipts, tickets or boarding pass, especially before cooking or eating food.

5. Avoid hand sanitisers, sunscreens and moisturisers before/after touching the thermal paper receipts. Dermal penetration enhancers in those products break down the skin’s protective barrier to enhance the delivery of the products’ active ingredients.

How does Spinal Flow Technique help with endocrine disruption effects in your body?

Your nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) controls and coordinates everything in your body. When your nerve energy flows abundantly without obstruction, your body and mind are 100% self-communicating, self-healing and self regulating. When blockages impede nerve flow, you are no longer functioning at 100% and your health and vitality is compromised. Blockages are caused by our inability to process life’s 3 major stressors - physical, emotional-mental and chemical. Endocrine disruptors, such as BPA, BPS and BPF are chemical stressors to our body that has been known to cause problems with cardiovascular disease, brain and reproductive development, early puberty and a rise in breast and prostate cancer.

At RealEase, our approach is to find out what’s happening in your body and the root cause of your pain, illness or dis-ease by partnering with you as well as performing specific assessments on your body. As Spinal Flow Technique (Spinal Flow) practitioners, we help shift your body from a stressed zone (sympathetic state) to a healing zone (para-sympathetic state) by focusing on what works/area of ease or where there is flow. Spinal Flow involves light touches on specific points without manually manipulating the spine. It helps rebalance the nervous system to optimise recovery, regeneration and healing as well as facilitate release of physical, chemical and emotional stress from the body.


Looking to find the root cause of you pain, illness or dis-ease and shift your body to optimal health and wellness?

Book your initial consultation and Spinal Flow services appointment with RealEase here or express your interest via this link.

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