Could your wallet be a toxic dump, filled with cancer-causing chemicals that leech into the skin? Unless your wallet is empty, then the answer is yes. According to a new study entitled On The Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts, the hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) has been found on 95% of United States dollar bills.
BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical used in the manufacturing of plastic baby bottles and in the linings of food and beverage cans. BPA has been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen, producing inconsistent levels of hormones that eventually turn masculine men into feminine boys.
While BPA is knowingly used in the manufacturing of certain products including dental fillings, glass jars, and even 40% of cash receipts, never before were such high levels of BPA detected on U.S. currency. Unlike baby bottles or food cans, dollars are circulated worldwide, and often change hands countless times over a short period of time. Due to this high degree of circulation, thousands of people will handle the same BPA-tainted dollar.
It may be difficult to eliminate the presence of BPA on dollar bills and cash receipts already in circulation, but newly printed bills should not have the same problem. According to a top expert on chemical safety, a legal failure allowed for the contamination of bills worldwide. Andy Igrehas, Director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition, said:
“BPA on receipts, dollar bills, and in many other products, is a direct result of the absurdly lax controls on chemicals in the United States. The 112th Congress should make reform of the failed 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act a top legislative priority to protect American families for generations to come.”
Although the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is supposed to regulate toxic chemicals by requiring manufacturers to test new chemicals for risks or concerns, it seems that the legislatures aren’t concerned enough about BPA. Despite the hormone mimicker being linked to a host of health concerns including male impotence, breast cancer, heart disease, infertility, and much more, manufacturers claim to have tested this chemical for safety.
Even though some major companies such as Nestle and GM claim to have stopped using BPA in production due to its harmful effects, it is still of little concern to most U.S. corporations. With hundreds of studies concluding that BPA is indeed toxic, Coca-Cola and other production giants refuse to withdraw use of the chemical, denying the fact that BPA is toxic.
Due to the wide-scale awareness of the health concerns associated with BPA, Canada decided to be the first country to ban the chemical from baby bottles in 2008. In 2010, the country officially labeled BPA as toxic. In addition, the EU plans to ban BPA from baby bottles in 2011. Even mainstream media has recently decided to report on the dangers of BPA. The mainstream exposure comes after scientific evidence highlighting the negative effects of BPA has been available for years.
New information also shows that the highest quantities of BPA transfer onto the skin after crumpling a receipt. Authors of On The Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts, say:
“Chemicals that can cause cancer, disrupt hormones, cause reproductive harm and infertility, or cause learning disabilities have no place in the products we bring into our homes. New law must reduce or eliminate the use of known toxics on a strict timeline.