Friday, August 06, 2010

How Knowledge of BPA Has Not Yet Trickled Down

News about bisphenol-A was all over the Internet this week, including an article yesterday on How to Avoid Bisphenol A and Phthalates. From Why Bisphenol-A Might Be in your Dinner to studies indicating BPA affects sperm quality, the warning lights are certainly flashing.

And a number of articles this week confirmed the existence of Bisphenal A on cash register receipts. This last revelation seemed particularly egregious.

When I read, in an Environmental Working Group article, that the Federal Post Office uses thermal paper, I printed out the info and presented it to Jocelyn and Brandon, employees at the Wellfleet post office. They are both young and need to worry about endocrine disruption.

Today at Phoenix, in Orleans, a blond teenager stood behind the counter, not too happy to be there. I watched as he slowly made his way through my basket of organic fruit and vegetables. At last he pressed a key on the cash register and out popped my receipt. Since I had forgotten a special envelope to isolate receipts from other papers in my purse, I refused the receipt.

ME: “Did you know there's BPA on cash register receipts?”

HE: “What’s BPA?”

So, I explained. A middle-aged year-round employee was listening in with a horrified look on her face.

SHE: “And, to think I’ve been handling cash register receipts all my life!”

On to the CVS Pharmacy where a young woman, with an unfamiliar face, was helping customers pick up prescriptions. She seemed efficient and helpful.

ME: “Did you know there may be BPA on cash register receipts, like the one you are holding?”

HER: “What’s BPA?”

My conclusion? A whole lot of educating needs to be done ….

As I turned to go, I noticed the CVS worker had stuffed my two prescriptions into a plastic bag. I removed them from the plastic bag. They were both, after all, in paper bags already.

ME: “Thanks, but no bag for me. The world is much better off without plastic in the environment, don’t you think?”