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Research Letter
February 26, 2014

Handling of Thermal Receipts as a Source of Exposure to Bisphenol A

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 3University of California, San Francisco
  • 4Dr Ehrlich is now with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
JAMA. 2014;311(8):859-860. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.283735

Human exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) has been associated with adverse health outcomes, including reproductive function in adults1 and neurodevelopment in children exposed perinatally.2 Exposure to BPA is primarily through dietary ingestion, including consumption of canned foods.3 A less-studied source of exposure is thermal receipt paper,4 handled daily by many people at supermarkets, ATM machines, gas stations, and other settings. We hypothesized that handling of thermal receipts significantly increases BPA exposure, but use of gloves during handling minimizes exposure.

In 2010-2011, after obtaining written informed consent, we recruited Harvard School of Public Health students and staff (aged >18 years, nonpregnant) via informational fliers and e-mail. No sample size calculation was performed for this pilot study, which was approved by the Harvard University institutional review board.