According to a recent report published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, paper money worldwide is contaminated with the potentially toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA).
BPA is used to make some plastics and consumer products such as water bottles, household electronics and sports equipment. Research suggests that BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means that it acts like the hormone estrogen, and may be linked to a number of health problems.
Researchers from the American Chemical Society analyzed 156 pieces of paper money from 21 countries and found that all of the bills contained traces of BPA. Paper money from Brazil, the Czech Republic and Australia had the highest BPA levels, while bills from the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam had the lowest levels. The U.S. notes had average levels.
Thermal paper used for cash register receipts is the most likely source of the BPA contamination on the money. Thermal paper contains a chemical that changes color when exposed to heat.
The investigators also noted that while the amounts of the chemical on paper money are higher than what’s found in house dust, human intake of BPA from paper money is at least 10 times lower than intake from house dust.
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