A STUDY conducted by environmental groups reveal thermal paper receipts in Davao City contain hazardous chemicals Bisphenol A (BPA) and Bisphenol S (BPS).

During the Kapehan sa Dabaw press conference on June 20, the Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis), Ecowaste Coalition, and the Wonjin Institue for Occupational and Environmental Health (WIOEH) of South Korea said they discovered thermal receipts taken from Davao, Makati, Manila, Quezon, and Taguig cities contain harmful amounts of BPA and BPS.

Based on the analysis done by WIOEH, out of 53 analyzed samples of thermal receipts, 32 had BPA concentrations ranging from 0.92 to 1.86 percent, while 13 samples showed 0.61 to 1.12 percent BPS concentrations.

“Kining mga (The) BPA and BPS, these are health hazards. These are EDC or endocrine-disrupting chemicals. It changes our hormones, especially our kidneys, breasts, and livers, mao gyod na iyang tirahon (those are what’s really affected),” said Lemuel Manalo, program coordinator of Idis.

Other side effects linked to exposure to BPA and BPS include, diabetes, obesity, increased blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, neurological problems, infertility and other reproductive disorders, and breast and prostate cancers.

Thermal paper receipts are widely used in the commerce industry and are usually encountered in big supermarkets, restaurants, and banks.

Manalo said in other countries, particularly the USA and Canada, have banned BPA/BPS in bottles, cans, and thermal paper receipts, while the European Union has regulated BPA/BPS concentration, limiting it to only 0.02 percent.

He said the Philippines do not have a similar policy yet on BPA/BPS use.

As a result, the groups call for policy implementation from the national and local governments that will regulate BPA/BPS use and prohibit thermal paper receipts. The business sector is also urged to switch to safer alternatives such as paper or digital receipts.

“The results of our investigation, we hope will catch the attention of the government and business leaders. We really need to poison-proof business transactions,” said Manny Calonzo, adviser of Ecowaste Coalition, during the press con.

“For us in civil society, (we can) raise awareness on EDCs and push for measures to reduce human exposure... We are also in the position to influence the government and the industry,” he added.

Manalo said they are working on presenting the result of the study to the offices of Councilors Pilar Braga and Diosdado Mahipus Jr. in order to lobby for the drafting of an ordinance.

“Hopefully they will carry this to the city council,” Manalo said.

The study on BPA/BPS in thermal paper receipts is led by WIOEH called EDC-Free Asia Project and in partnership with eight other countries in Asia. The sampling and testing of the study were done in 2021 while analysis was done early this year.

“There is an urgent need for stronger policies that will protect workers and the society as a whole from EDCs and other hazardous chemicals,” said Dr. Won Kim, head of the EDC-Free Asia Project. ICM