BPA Free Printer Paper

Oliver’s is a proud supporter and users of BPA free printer paper. What is BPA and what environmental impacts does it present?  BPA is used to make certain plastics and epoxy resins; it has been in commercial use since 1957 and around 3.6 million tones (8 billion pounds) of BPA are used by manufacturers yearly. BPA-based plastic is clear and tough, and is used to make a variety of common consumer goods (such as baby and water bottles, sports equipment, and CDs and DVDs) and for industrial purposes, like lining water pipes. Epoxy resins containing BPA are used as coatings on the inside of many food and beverage cans. It is also used in making thermal paper such as that used in sales receipts.

Recently the controversy over the use of BPA has increased. In 2010 the FDA banned BPA for usage in baby formula bottles, but stated that small ingestion of BPA presented no health problems for those over the age of 6.  Oliver is has for years used BPA free printer paper for the benefit of our customers, employees, and waste stream.

Two-fifths of the paper receipts tested by a major laboratory commissioned by Environmental Working Group were on heat-activated paper that was between 0.8 to nearly 3 percent pure BPA by weight. Wipe tests conducted with a damp laboratory paper easily picked up a portion of the receipts' BPA coating, indicating that the chemical would likely stick to the skin of anyone who handled them. The receipts came from major retailers, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, fast-food restaurants, post offices and automatic teller machines (ATMs).

A study published July 11 by Swiss scientists found that BPA transfers readily from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a depth that it cannot be washed off (Biedermann 2010). This raises the possibility that the chemical infiltrates the skin's lower layers to enter the bloodstream directly. BPA has also been shown to penetrate skin in laboratory studies (Kaddar 2008).

Biomonitoring surveys by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found BPA in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans over age 6. EWG analysis of CDC data has found that people who reported working in retail industries had 30 percent more BPA in their bodies than the average U.S. adult, and 34 percent more BPA than other workers. (CDC 2004). As of May 2009, 1 in 17 working Americans — 7 million people — were employed as retail salespersons and cashiers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In animal tests, scientists have produced evidence that BPA can induce abnormal reproductive system development, diminished intellectual capacity and behavioral abnormalities and can set the stage for other serious conditions, such as reproductive system cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, resistance to chemotherapy, asthma and cardiovascular system disorders. It has caused epigenetic changes, meaning alterations in the way genes switch off and on and genetic changes that can be passed on to the next generations. BPA is an endocrine disrupter, mimicking the body’s hormones. Studies on animals have suggested that it can have harmful effects on the reproductive, developmental and other systems, causing neurological problems, for example, or stimulating obesity

Tips for reducing BPA contact and absorption:

·         Minimize receipt collection by declining receipts at gas pumps, ATMs and other machines when possible.

·         Store receipts separately in an envelope in a wallet or purse.

·         Never give a child a receipt to hold or play with.

·         After handling a receipt, wash hands before preparing and eating food (a universally recommended practice even for those who have not handled receipts).

·         Do not use alcohol-based hand cleaners after handling receipts. A recent study showed that these products can increase the skin's BPA absorption (Biedermann 2010).

·         Take advantage of store services that email or archive paperless purchase records.

·         Do not recycle receipts and other thermal paper. BPA residues from receipts will contaminate recycled paper.

·         If you are unsure, check whether paper is thermally treated by rubbing it with a coin. Thermal paper discolors with the friction; conventional paper does not.

·         Eat Fewer Canned Foods. The easiest way to lower your intake of BPA is to stop eating so many foods that come into contact with the chemical. Eat fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, which usually have more nutrients and fewer preservatives than canned foods, and taste better, too.

·         Choose Cardboard and Glass Containers Over Cans
Highly acidic foods, such as tomato sauce and canned pasta, leach more BPA from the lining of cans, so it’s best to choose brands that come in glass containers. Soups, juices and other foods packaged in cardboard cartons made of layers of aluminum and polyethylene plastic (labeled with a number 2 recycling code) are safer than cans with plastic linings containing BPA.

·         Don't Microwave Polycarbonate Plastic Food Containers
Polycarbonate plastic, which is used in packaging for many microwaveable foods, may break down at high temperatures and release BPA. Although manufacturers are not required to say whether a product contains BPA, polycarbonate containers that do are usually marked with a number 7 recycling code on the bottom of the package.

·         Choose Stainless Steel or Glass Bottles for Beverages
Canned juice and soda often contain some BPA, especially if they come in cans lined with BPA-laden plastic. Glass or plastic bottles are safer choices. For portable water bottles, stainless steel is best, but most recyclable plastic water bottles do not contain BPA. Plastic bottles with BPA are usually marked with a number 7 recycling code.

·         Turn Down the Heat
To avoid BPA in your hot foods and liquids, switch to glass or porcelain containers, or stainless steel containers without plastic liners.

Many Countries across the world have banned BPA outright. It is appartent that at this time the Federal Government is unwilling to recognize the health and environmental risk of the substance. However, the State and County have the ability to limit products and uses for BPA. One means for helping curb the usage of this substance is to write your local officials asking them to ban BPA uses in the County and State. Additionally, you can lobby local businesses you patronage and ask them to switch their printer paper to non-bpa receipt paper. Through education and community efforts BPA can be permanently banned from our County, State, Country, and Planet


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