According to recent scientific research, Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been shown to post several risks to people. Some of the risks include cardiovascular conditions, complications with the reproductive system, abnormalities in the brain and higher risk of developing breast or prostate cancer. While food is the main source of BPA (because the majority of foods are packed in cans coated with BPA, as well as plastic bags), another common source is thermal receipts.

According to a study done by The Environment Working Group, high levels of BPA were discovered in approximately 40 percent of receipts collected from grocery stores, gas stations, shopping malls and fast food outlets. In fact, thermal paper contains a higher level of BPA than a single polycarbonate water bottle would release in years.

While it is not going to be completely possible to avoid using or receiving the receipts coated in BPA, there are some steps to take to use it more healthily. Some of those tips are found here.

Avoid Hand to Mouth Contact

When handling a thermal receipt, you should try to avoid hand-to-mouth contact. The group of people who are most exposed to this include cashiers who hand out receipts day after day. Stay alert and try to avoid touching your mouth or lips after handing out a receipt. This will help you avoid ingesting any BPA that may move from the receipt to your fingers.

Wash Your Hands

After handling a thermal paper receipt, you should wash your hands carefully. This is especially important to do before you handle any type of food items, before you cook or eat. Also, don’t use a hand wash lotion or alcohol based cleaner to cleanse your hands – only soap and water will work. It is also a good idea to keep receipts as dry as possible.

Avoid Recycling BPA Coated Receipts

If you recycle a receipt that has been coated in BPA, it means that it may end up on other items, such as paper towels or shopping bags. The chemicals can then end up in the waste water or exhaust fumes from the recycling plant. To avoid having to worry about this, opt to have your receipts emailed, rather than given to you.

Use Nitrile Gloves

If you know you are going to be handling BPA coated receipts (i.e. cashiers, store clerks, etc.), then you may want to keep a pair of nitrile gloves on-hand. BPA is able to be absorbed through the skin, which means that the gloves need to be worn when giving the receipts out and when changing the paper rolls.

As you can see, there are several ways you can protect yourself from BPA. The best option is to purchase BPA free receipt paper, which will eliminate the risk altogether.