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California Watchdog Group Highlights Dangers of Cash Register Receipts Containing Toxic Chemicals

California-based consumer watchdog group Center for Environmental Health has initiated legal action in California under Proposition 65 against five companies for exposing consumers to the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in cash register receipts. BPA is linked to birth defects and other serious reproductive health problems. CEH also warns that while many thermal paper makers have stopped using BPA in their products, testing has shown that that chemical has been replaced in cash register receipts by a closely related chemical called bisphenol S, or BPS.

The watchdog group contends that recent studies suggest that BPS may be as harmful, and possibly more harmful, than BPA. Specifically, a 2013 study ostensibly found that amounts as little as one part per trillion of BPS could interfere with the normal functioning of a cell, and scientists have said that BPS may be an even more potent hormone-disrupting chemical than BPA. According to CEH Research Director Caroline Cox, “changing from one toxic chemical to another is a poisonous substitution that continues to put our children and families at risk.” CEH is therefore warning consumers to avoid handling receipts to the extent possible, especially in the case of pregnant women, and to keep receipts away from small children.

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