The cash receipts from fast-food outlets or grocery malls are a threat to health as they contain high levels of the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A, warns a new study.
The study by Environmental Working Group found the plastic component BPA on 40 percent of receipts from McDonald's, CVS, KFC, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, Safeway and other businesses.
Animal tests have shown that BPA can induce abnormal reproductive system development, diminished intellectual capacity and behavioural abnormalities.
It can set the stage for other serious conditions, such as reproductive system cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, resistance to chemotherapy, asthma and cardiovascular system disorders.
"Consumers are being exposed to BPA at the point of sale once they're handed a receipt," AOL News quoted senior scientist Dr. Anila Jacob as saying.
Piling up in purses month after month, these receipts could easily contaminate fingers, which then can result in oral or dermal exposure, the physician explained.
The Zurich Official Food Control Authority reported that BPA from register receipts can "enter the skin to such a depth that it can no longer be washed off."
The find is especially crucial for cans for processed food, baby bottles and infant formula.
And not just consumers, millions of people who staff cash registers and bag groceries at tens of thousands of retailers across the country are also at a high risk.
The risk from handling BPA-laden receipts can be significant, Jacob said, and added that eliminating exposure to this ubiquitous yet toxic substance should remain the first priority of U.S. lawmakers.