BPA and Avoiding Receipts

>> Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cash rounding receipts from ICA, Karlskrona, S...Image via WikipediaWhen handed a receipt at the store, you apparently have just over a 50% chance of receiving an apparently-high dose of easily-absorbed bisphenol-A, due to unregulated and wide usage of the material as a loose coating to make printing the receipt easier. A study by the Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC) says that in as little as ten seconds of light handling, BPA receipts can transfer large amounts of BPA directly into the body.

Not something that a society, recently awakened to the toxic effects of this material, wants to hear. Essentially, you can’t avoid being affected by this material if you live in a modern society. Just think about how you interact with store receipts every day – and how often you do. You probably will touch each receipt for at least ten seconds, after which it might find its way into your pocket, wallet, or purse. After that, you’ll touch it again, but considering this is “loose” BPA, how much of your wallet/pocket/purse has BPA covering it now, too? (It has transferred readily to dollar bills so it’s quite likely to brush off many other places as well)

Until the manufacturers of BPA-laden receipt paper grow up and change the way their materials are made, our best course of action is to avoid touching the receipts at all. If you work in a retail position, besides wearing gloves you might just be out of luck. But if you’re a regular customer – and have a smartphone – you could try this high-tech alternative:

First, set up an account on xpenser.com; this is a website designed for keeping track of your expenses and has a number of ways you can interface with their system.  Once you have an account, turn on the option to receive email receipts, and if you like, also turn on email verification for when Xpenser logs your emails.

Then, if you have an Android or iPhone, search the market for the Pixelpipe app, or follow the links from pixelpipe.com. You’ll then need to set up a destination “pipe” (or more, if you so feel like it) of the email type. Set it to send to r@expenser.com and make sure you mark it to be sent “from” you (your email address), since that’s how xpenser will identify you.

Once you’ve set both of these applications up, the next time you’re in the store and buy something, you need only take a picture of the receipt. Pixelpipe will* appear and ask you to fill in a title, a caption, and some tags – but you only need to fill in the title in the form that Xpenser needs, which is “category amount description” (i.e. “cafĂ© 3.25 coffee with Jim”) Send it off, and you’re done.  You no longer need the receipt!

* Pixelpipe does not always work perfectly with all phone models; sometimes it may not pop up automatically.

Source: Study: More than half of store receipts and nearly all money bills contain dangerously high levels of toxic BPA

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