RECEIPT-MANIA: ANNOYING AND POSSIBLY DANGEROUS

Every year, holiday shopping (and returning) season sees a proliferation of receipts. Gift givers want receipts in case they give something that doesn’t fit or is just not in the receivers’ taste. The increase in receipts spreads to ATM machines as well. But those small pieces of paper may in fact, be dangerous to your health.

The Washington, DC-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) says those receipts are hazardous to your health if they contain bisphenol-A or BPA, and many of them do. Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the environmental group, told the Huffington Post, “BPA’s prevalence on receipts could help explain why the chemical can be detected in the urine of an estimated 93 percent of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’ve come across potentially major sources of BPA right here in our daily lives,” Lunder said. “When you’re carrying around a receipt in your wallet for months while you intend to return something, you could be shedding BPA into your home, into your environment. If you throw a receipt into a bag of food, and it’s lying there against an apple, or you shove a receipt into your bag next to a baby pacifier, you could be getting all kinds of exposure and not realize it.” Wow.

If you need another reason to avoid these slips of paper, they are incredibly annoying. I don’t need a receipt when I get a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts or some pasta at Whole Foods. I understand that some people do need a record of what they are purchasing. In those cases, they can simply ask for one. The default position for retailers should be to not give a receipt for small purchases, as opposed to giving one and have to be told, “No receipt, please.” It would contribute to our physical and mental health.