BPA-free isn't

By Steve Milloy

There’s a new tale to be told in the annals of corporate greenwashing — so-called “BPA-free” cash register receipts.

Over the last year or so, environmental extremists have been promoting a health scare over cash-register receipts manufactured with a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA).

The scare has it that BPA has estrogenic qualities and that workers and consumers handling receipts made with BPA will be exposed to the chemical so as to have their hormonal processes “disrupted.”

Never mind that there is no scientific evidence showing that anyone, including workers in BPA manufacturing plants, has ever been harmed or feminized by BPA, despite its widespread use for more than 50 years.

Never mind that any minute amounts of BPA to which cash register workers and consumers might be exposed are rapidly metabolized by the body into harmless and non-estrogenic by-products

And never mind that the BPA scare has been entirely fueled by disreputable activist-researchers, extreme environmental activist groups that have no track record of appropriately alerting the public to a genuine health threat, and class action trial lawyers.

Never mind all that because the scare has taken hold and has created a market for “BPA-free” receipts.

Stepping up to fill the market “need” is Wisconsin-based Appleton Papers, which has substituted a chemical called bisphenol sulfonate (BPS) for BPA. “We decided that’s not a chemical we want to use,” an Appleton exec told Science News. And so Appleton switched to bisphenol sulfonate because the U.S. EPA deems it to be an acceptable substitute for BPA.

However, BPS also exhibits estrogenic activity that is comparable to BPA. That’s right, inconveniently for Appleton and the EPA, it’s the “BP” part of the molecule, not the “A” or the “S” that imparts the estrogenic activity.

So while a BPA-free cash register receipt may not be made with bisphenol A, endocrine disrupter worryworts should take little comfort if it’s been replaced by BPS.

5 thoughts on “BPA-free isn't”

  1. Does anybody check facts anymore? Facts are not that hard to find these days. We live in an imperfect world, and we are trying to tame it. Ignorance of the facts will result in believing EVERY new advertisement (marketing) any snake oil salesman out there can come up with. We need to quit being so gullible.

  2. I am so-o-o-o-o-o overloaded with junk science and junk economics spewing 24-7 from the Lame Stream Media. It’s like all the ‘pretty’ kids from school took over the nation’s media outlets. Is there ANY hope that we’ll get media that will vet these idiot claims before running out to broadcast the latest ‘end of the world’ scenario?

  3. They don’t care about the effects. They care about the “BPA-free” label. Same with Babies-R-Us. They have a “junk science complaint” script which effectively says that they don’t care what science shows, they will continue to provide and advertise BPA-free stuff because that’s what “customers” demand.

  4. I would think BPS would be toxic on top of that. BP part is something like 4,4 isopropylamine diphenol? which is the concerning part. Did I get that right? It’s been 30 years since I worked there.

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