We hear a lot about how bisphenol A (BPA) makes its way into our bodies through food and drink, but a study released last week in the journal Chemosphere finds that BPA is “efficiently” absorbed through the skin as well.
French toxicologists found that “free” BPA — which is BPA in an unlocked chemical form, so to speak — can easily be transferred through the skin. They radioactively labeled BPA and watched how it moved through the skin of a pig’s ear, as well as through human skin.
The BPA absorbed at a rate of 65% for pig skin and 45% for human.
What common objects contain “free” BPA that could transfer through touch?
A big one is thought to be thermal paper, which is the kind used for cashier receipts. As Rebecca on Being Pregnant reported a few weeks ago, a recent study found that 90% of women who are pregnant have detectable levels of BPA in their urine, and women who work as cashiers have especially high levels. Other women found to have the highest levels were those who ate a lot of canned vegetables.
So it’s not just baby bottles and food packaging that we have to think about when it comes to BPA exposure — it travels through our skin too. Just to note, hard plastics like bottles that have BPA have the “locked” chemical form of it, so don’t worry about touching those. But wash your hands after you handle cash receipts and if you’re pregnant, maybe skip taking them all together.
Image: dan zen