By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
Is this just someone's way of trying to get us to stop shopping?
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A new study by the organization Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and the Washington Toxics Coalition has found that receipts and paper money contain high levels of bisphenol A (a.k.a. BPA), a potentially toxic chemical most often found in hard plastics and in the resin used to line metal food and soda cans.
Unlike the BPA found in hard plastics, the BPA on thermal paper -- i.e. receipts -- isn't chemically bound. Instead, it's a film that's easily transferred to your hands or your paper money when you shove it in your wallet.
So just how dangerous is dirty money?
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Over the last decade, studies by major health organizations have linked BPA -- even small amounts of it -- to breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, premature puberty and infertility. It's considered an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can mimic the body's own hormones. Alarmingly, according to the National Institutes of Health, the potentially toxic chemical is present in the urine of 93 percent of Americans.
In a small study released last week, University of California, San Francisco, researchers found that women undergoing IVF with the highest blood levels of BPA were 50 percent less likely to have normal fertilization after the eggs were retrieved.
So what can we do to limit exposure, especially with all of the last-minute holiday shopping we're doing? The Washington Toxics Coalition shared a few ideas:
* Say "no thanks" to a receipt when possible (or request an e-receipt!)
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* Store your receipts in a small envelope in your wallet or purse, so BPA isn't transferred to money, credit cards, etc.
* Keep receipts away from young children (their developing systems may be most vulnerable).
* Wash your hands after handling receipts or moolah.
What steps do you take to reduce exposure to chemicals?
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio