Though it’s second nature to crumple up a receipt and toss it in your purse or pocket, Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, board-certified gastroenterologist, warns against touching your proof of purchase. Many receipts are printed on thermal paper, which means they’re covered with a thin coating of powder that develops the dye needed for the type, he explains. “This powder contains BPA, an endocrine-disrupting chemical which has been linked to breast cancer, diabetes, and hormone abnormalities in children.”
He adds that many studies have shown that BPA is absorbed through the skin, making it important to limit your interaction with this chemical. “If you don’t need a receipt, ask the cashier not to print it if possible. If you do need it, ask for it to be placed in the bag; don’t place the receipt in a bag with food items, particularly items that are consumed raw. Finally, be sure to wash your hands well after handling any receipts,” he advises.
Bug sprays and repellents
Though it might prevent some bites, infectious disease specialist and clinical assistant professor Alexea M. Gaffney-Adams, MD, says some of the ingredients of your favorite bug spray may raise an eyebrow, specifically, “organophosphates,” found in pesticides, herbicides, nerve agents, and chemical agents. They’re also known as plasticizers, which is about as scary as they sound.
“These compounds are readily absorbed through the skin and inhaled. They poison insects—and humans—by disrupting neurotransmitters necessary for proper body functions. They can affect breathing and muscle function and they can cause cardiovascular collapse and death in large amounts,” she explains. “Prolonged exposures—like in farmers—have been linked to heart and lung disease, impaired memory, poor or delayed reflexes as well as cancers.”
Yikes! That’s a strong argument for trying these natural bug repellents.