Cash register receipts contaminated with BPS

Most Canadians will have heard of BPA, the substance  first identified in baby bottles and then demonized in food can linings, some reusable water bottles, and many other products. Now get ready for the same fuss over BPS, found in thermally printed papers such as some cash register receipts and possibly, by transfer, in bank notes (cash).

Bisphenol S is being used in some applications as a replacement for BPA but recent research suggests it might be just as toxic. The just published study found BPS in thermal receipts, paper currencies, flyers, magazines, newspapers, food contact papers, airplane luggage tags, printing paper, kitchen rolls (i.e., paper towels), and toilet paper! The major source of human exposure to BPS appears to be thermal cash register receipts. The presence of BPS in bank notes may be because many people wrap receipts into their in-pocket bundle of banknotes. It may be in toilet paper because of recycling of thermal cash register receipts along with regular paper products.

There is much yet to be known about BPS, its presence in common products, and its human toxicity and endocrine effects. It is a good guess that, while possibly no worse than, or even not quite as bad as, BPA, BPS is still a bad actor that is not really needed. Watch your local environmental community for future criticism of your thermal cash register receipt.

The article about BPS is published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology at The abstract is free; a fee or a membership in American Chemical Society is required for the full article.

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