ACSH not afraid of BPA dollars

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An unintentionally amusing report entitled "On the Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts”, which was released yesterday by a radical advocacy consortium comprised of The Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, claims that 21 out of 22 dollar bills they tested contained trace levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical sometimes alleged to be a causative agent for a slew of mysterious health maladies. In addition to money, the organization also analyzed thermal paper receipts and found that 50 percent of those receipts, gathered from retailers in 10 different states and Washington, D.C., also contained BPA. The group went on to claim, rather incredibly, that one cash register receipt it tested was 2.2 percent BPA by weight. This bald-faced absurdity was then uncritically repeated by newspapers across the country.

The report feeds into the current hysteria about BPA — despite the fact that dozens of studies and numerous government agencies have dismissed any health threat from BPA. We at ACSH have often pointed out how insignificant the discovery of low levels of BPA are when they are found by increasingly sophisticated chemical-testing devices, which are now able to test in parts per trillion. But here we can only note the silliness of those pointing to the supposed importance of this data.

“Besides,” says ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom, “if there are any health threats at all from money, they come from the presence on the bills of pathogens like E. Coli, influenza, rhinovirus (colds), norovirus (stomach flu) and other infectious diseases. You don’t see people especially worried about this, nor should they be. Nonetheless, I’ll take BPA over any of these any day of the week.”

ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says that “this cleverly-produced manifesto is clearly aimed at promoting the pet project of the activist's ‘environmental’ fringe to get the chemical safety TSCA law revised to be much more stringent against target chemicals, such as BPA and phthalates.”

In any event, for all the folks who are still worried about potential exposure to BPA while handling money, ACSH has a solution for you: just send it to us! That’s right, put on some hypoallergenic gloves, carefully remove those “toxic” bills from your wallet, and send them right along to us! We’ll take them no matter how contaminated they may be.