When Cash Register Receipts Cost Too Much

Group wants to ban receipts that contain chemicals.

Chion Wolf
When Cash Register Receipts Cost Too Much
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When Cash Register Receipts Cost Too Much

The Environment Committee is considering legislation that would ban the use of cash register receipts that contain the chemical, BPA. The bill would also require a research institute at UConn to develop a list of toxic chemicals. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA is a plastics chemical that’s used to make hard plastic bottles and resins that line metal food cans. It’s also used in the coating on some cash register receipts, known as thermal receipts. Anne Hulick from the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut says many studies show BPA is an endocrine disruptor associated with breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and reproductive disorders. Hulick supports banning thermal receipts with BPA because she says the chemical is not bound to the paper.

“It readily transmits to your hands and you, in turn, can transmit it to someone you touch. That Bisphenol A on your hands can transmit through your skin. We are exposed, just by handling those receipts.”

Last year, the Chemical Innovations Institute at the UConn Health Çenter was established through legislation. This year’s bill, banning thermal receipts, also would require the Institute  to develop a list of toxic chemicals and safe alternatives. Eric Brown of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association says he’s concerned. The Institute could become a tool for people who want to ban more chemicals.

“To the extent the Institute gets involved in that kind of public policy advocacy it detracts from their more scientific and policy-neutral mission as its currently stated under the current law.”

The C.B.I.A. has not commented on the proposed cash register receipt ban. The Environment Committee is expected to weigh in on this bill within a week.

For WNPR, I’m Nancy Cohen.