You’ve probably gotten used to seeing “BPA-free” labeled on things like water bottles and baby toys. Now a similar message is starting to pop up on cash receipts—though it’s not spelled out so clearly. Bisphenol A, an endocrine disruptor, has been found present in significant amounts on cash receipts ranging from Safeway to Walmart to Whole Foods. A French study recently published in the journal Chemosphere noted that the estrogen-mimicking chemical also easily passes through the skin. That may help explain why, in a study of about 400 pregnant women in Cincinnati, the highest BPA concentrations were found in cashiers.
Now, Fast Company reports that Appleton, the largest manufacturer of thermal paper and the only producer of BPA-free thermal receipt paper, “has added small red fibers to its paper so that shoppers and cashiers can immediately see when their receipts are BPA-free.” Though they don’t actually spell out “BPA-free,” the little red fibers will be on the backs of about 75 percent of Appleton’s receipt paper by the end of November.