Together we Can Reduce BPA
At Linden Hills Co-op, we are always looking for ways to provide healthy, earth friendly choices for our members and shoppers. Sometimes the things that are harmful to our wellbeing are in our environment, not our food. Such is the case with Bisphenol-A (BPA). Bisphenol is a synthetic estrogen used in most all thermal heated printer paper, which has been scientifically proven to cause endocrine disruption. Research conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has found that persistent exposure to endocrine disrupting agents can lead to abnormalities in fertility and hormonal functions and increased risk of cancer, diseases, and other abnormalities in reproductive organs.
In 2013, Linden Hills Co-op participated in a case study conducted by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to find out the exact amount of BPA in our receipts and what we can do to reduce exposure to BPA in our store. From this study we discovered that our receipt paper has 57 micrograms per square centimeter of BPA, and is 1.4% BPA by weight. After learning this we devoted ourselves to creating and implementing an action plan for our staff. The first measure we took was to offer an “opt-out” of receipt option for all members. We also permanently “opted-out” of receipts for our reciprocating Twin Cities co-ops. Next, we implemented a best practices policy for our cashiers, listing the following in training materials:
• Refrain from utilizing alcohol based hand sanitizer and then handling receipts.
• Do not crumple receipts; simply place them in our recycling containers.
• Do not store receipts in wallets/purses/aprons.
In July 2016, operations manager, Jolene Parker participated in a webinar hosted by Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. She and other business community members spoke about their experience and knowledge about BPA in an effort to help other businesses to reduce or eliminate their BPA exposure.
Since September 2016, our registers no longer automatically print receipts. Please note, we are always glad to reprint a receipt for you upon request.
Here are a few steps that you can take to reduce BPA:
• Choose e-receipts or no receipts
• When in store take these basic steps to carefully handle receipts:
1. Do not fold receipt, this can release more chemicals from paper.
2. Avoid contact between your hands and mouth after touching receipts
3. Avoid contact between dollar bills and receipts in your wallet.
• The amount of BPA in receipts is actually much greater than the amount in cans and other food containers.
• Retail workers carry an average of 30 percent more BPA in their bodies than other adults.
• The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found BPA in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans over age 6.
• When Linden Hills Co-op offered the “opt-out” of receipt option for all members and permanently “opted-out” of receipts for our reciprocating Twin Cities co-ops we reduced our receipt paper use from 800 rolls of 220 feet paper to 300 rolls. That’s an annual reduction of 170 pounds of paper and 2 pounds of BPA (910 million micrograms)!
• Do You Want Your Receipt? Reducing Occupational Exposure to BPA and BPS (Jolene’s webinar)
• MPCA Wants Potentially Harmful Receipts Gone From Businesses (CBS Minnesota)