A new test conducted by the Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has revealed that the plastics chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) is most likely lurking in your wallet. According to the findings, nearly every dollar bill tested in the multi-state analysis revealed BPA contamination, likely from BPA-laden receipts that rub off onto the cash.
The team sampled 22 one-dollar bills from the wallets of people from 18 states and Washington, D.C., and found that 21 of them tested positive for BPA. While some samples contained only about .12 parts per million (ppm) of BPA, others contained up to 11 ppm, indicating that exposure among the population can vary significantly.
Previous studies have already identified that the vast majority of money bills are covered in harmful pathogens and even drug residues, but the new study is one of the first of its kind to identify BPA on money. And the culprit seems to be receipt paper — which more often than not contains BPA on its surface — touching the bills.
An interview conducted by NPR back in August explained that much of the thermal receipt paper used by retailers today is loaded with BPA. And in the current study, researchers wanted to see for themselves what turned up on samples of receipt paper. They found that among 22 receipts collected from ten states and Washington, D.C., more than half contained BPA. One receipt from a Safeway grocery store actually contained so much BPA that the chemical comprised 2.2 percent of the receipt’s total weight.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to insist that levels of exposure from these sources and others — including from plastic bottles, food cans, and other consumer products — is safe. But other recent studies have shown that even low-level exposure to BPA can cause serious health problems