SEATTLE -- What's in your wallet?
According to a Seattle research group, there are probably traces of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA).
The Washington Toxics Coalition joined two other groups to test money from several parts of the country and found BPA present in 95 percent of the dollar bills sampled. The study follows a similar investigation that found BPA present in a very common type of receipt paper. Researchers believe BPA present in thermal receipt paper rubs off on the money in wallets and pockets.
BPA is a chemical that can be absorbed through the skin and has been found in the systems of the vast majority of Americans. It has been used for years in plastic bottles, food cans and other items.
"Our findings demonstrate that BPA cannot be avoided, even by the most conscious consumer,” said Erika Schreder, staff scientist at the Washington Toxics Coalition and lead author of the report. “This unregulated use of large amounts of BPA is having unintended consequences, including exposure to people when we touch receipts.”
Schreder says BPA is linked to reproductive problems, hyperactivity, and obesity. More research is underway but some organizations like the grocery chain PCC have already switched to BPA-free receipt paper. Others say there is not enough evidence that BPA threatens human health.