Further scientific mischief, but no evidence linking thermal paper to health effects

Speculation in the guise of science was again recently featured in the pages of Environmental Health Perspectives, where Andrea Schwartz and Philip Landrigan (researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York) and Julia Taylor, Frederick vom Saal and others at the University of Missouri, published letters that expand on an earlier study by Taylor.

Taylor et al.’s initial study had discussed human exposure to BPA. In their letter, Schwartz and Landrigan endorse and discuss Taylor’s paper – then go even further, claiming that a potentially important non-food source of exposure to BPA may be the thermal paper used in cash register receipts. Despite these alarming claims, Schwartz and Landrigan provide no new data in support of this speculation.

Then, in their own letter, Taylor and her colleagues dismiss out of hand the detailed safety assessments conducted by expert committees of the world’s most scientifically respected advisory groups and regulatory agencies (European Food Safety Authority, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the German Society of Toxicology, and others) that establish a safe dose level for BPA, and find current exposure levels from all sources are well below the safety level, indicating no reason for concern.

These latest letters may be from scientists, but their publication continues a concerted effort by activists to claim health effects from thermal paper using BPA technology.

However, there is no evidence of any potential threat to anyone who uses thermal paper, even those workers, such as cashiers, who are exposed to the paper over long periods of time.