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August 6, 2010

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Toxin found in store receipts

EXPERTS in Shanghai are warning residents to avoid using products containing controversial chemical bisphenol A, which was recently found on ATM receipts and sparked safety concerns.

The plastic hardener, also known as BPA, found on ATM receipts were 250 to 1,000 times greater than in normal sources, including plastic bottles and some food containers, the United States-based Environmental Working Group said.

The report sparked concerns as it said the hormone-disrupting chemical could be easily rubbed off from the paper and can enter the blood through the skin.

The Oriental Morning Post reported yesterday that some customers in Shanghai have started to refuse receipts from stores. But the EWG report said those in the retail business are in greatest danger as they handle thousands of such receipts every day.

The chemical is usually used in food packaging and the maximum level is set at 0.6 milligrams per kilogram. But China has no restrictions on BPA's use in the paper industry to coat thermal paper used in ATM receipts, Shanghai Evening Post quoted a business insider as saying.

Research by Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood in 2007 showed that exposure to BPA could cause male sex problems. In an experiment, a group of men exposed to BPA had four times more chance of experiencing erection problems. They were seven times more likely to have ejaculation problems.

Xinhua news agency cited the University of Michigan yesterday saying that high concentrations of BPA is related to decreased sperm quality and sperm concentration. Study results also suggested a 10 percent increase in sperm DNA damage.

But the researchers said these results are preliminary and more study is needed.

The synthetic estrogen is also linked to a long list of serious health problems, the EWG report said.


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