Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake.
The following information hit the presses last autumn (here is the report), and I’m only now finding it and passing it on to you, my fine readers. The gist of the story (which warrants its own read, as it’s full of information and additional links) is that credit card receipts using thermal imaging processes – the slick, shiny stuff that creates prints from a chemical reaction when heat is applied to the paper, as opposed to traditional ink-printed papers – are coated with bisphenol-A, the endocrine disrupting chemical.
I regret to say that the jury is still out about a definitive link between BPA and human health – google “BPA health effects” and march down the links, and you’ll get just a sampling of the spectrum – but I’m comfortable saying it is implicated in a host of troubles. It’s the same BPA that has plenty of people concerned about use of any plastics; the same BPA that compelled Canada to ban polycarbonate baby bottles and Japan to ban it outright; and the same BPA that is NOT found in any Lunchsense products.
One unsettling (and instructive) point in this most recent report, however, is the quantity of BPA we’re talking about. The amount which may leach from a polycarbonate bottle or a can liner is measured in nanograms, while that which shows up on a single receipt is 60 to 100 milligrams.
That’s a thousand-fold difference.
Now for a shorthand science lecture: We all believe in a linear relationship when we think about toxic materials and health effects. In other words, a small dose of some material has a small effect, and a larger dose of the same material has a larger effect. Here’s the rub: This dose-response relationship may not hold true for hormone-mimicking chemicals – the greatest effect may occur with a small dose, and our bodies may not respond at all to a large dose of the same material.
So where I can say “that’s a thousand-fold difference” for dramatic effect, I admit it may be meaningless.
The bottom line: we don’t know what’s going on.
If you find that this post is all over the map, then you’re perceptively picking up on my sentiments about the topic. I DON’T know what’s going on with BPA, but in the meantime I’ll be sure to keep it out of the Lunchsense lunchboxes, food containers, ice packs, and drink bottles.