BE CAREFUL - Bank receipts may expose customers to toxic chemical

Cash machine receipts may be exposing people to a toxic chemical, warns a new study..

Researchers found people who handled receipts printed on thermal paper continuously for two hours, without gloves, had an increase in urine bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations. 

Meanwhile, those who wore gloves to hold the paper experienced no significant rise.

Human exposure to BPA has been previously linked with health concerns, including an adverse impact on reproductive function in adults and brain development in children.

BPA is used in clear, hard plastic such as babies' bottles, the lining of canned food, but it is also used in thermal receipt paper, which is handled daily by many people at locations, such as supermarkets, bank machines and petrol stations.

The coating, which is heat sensitive, can be transferred to skin with handling, according to the study published in the health journal JAMA.

Doctor Shelley Ehrlich, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre in the United States, and her colleagues examined the effect of handling thermal receipts on urine BPA levels. 

The clinical implications of the height of the peak level and of chronic exposure are unknown, according to the researchers.

However, they may be particularly relevant to people exposed via their jobs, such as cashiers who handle receipts 40 or more hours per week.

Dr Ehrlich added: 'A larger study is needed to confirm our findings and evaluate the clinical implications.'

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