The primary sources of human exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) are not well characterized. Especially little is known about the presence of BPA in paper products, such as paper currencies, and its implications for human exposure.
In a recent study, paper currencies from 21 countries were analyzed for BPA. The chemical was found in all paper currencies analyzed.
According to the study:
"We also examined the transfer of BPA from thermal receipt paper to currencies by placing currencies in contact with thermal receipt papers for 24 [hours] in a wallet. Concentrations of BPA dramatically increased after 24 [hours] of contact with thermal receipt papers, suggesting that thermal receipt paper is a major source of BPA in paper currencies."
BPA is ordinarily associated more so with plastic than paper, and the elimination of the chemical BPA from plastic food and beverage packaging has given many people a sense of security. But new research suggests that a BPA-free label doesn't mean a product is harmless.
Scientists conducted lab tests on more than 450 plastic food and beverage-packages and over 20 top-brand baby bottles, and found that virtually all of them still leached chemicals that acted like the hormone estrogen, even though many were free of BPA
Discovery News reports:
"The new study, along with other work, suggests that the public's attention on BPA has been misguided. It now looks like there are thousands of possible chemicals in all sorts of plastics that act just like BPA. Called endocrine disruptors, these chemicals falsely tell the body's cells that the hormone estrogen is around, potentially causing all sorts of troubling developmental and reproductive consequences."