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Science & Technology Concentrates

November 15, 2010
Volume 88, Number 46
p. 36
DOI: 10.1021/CEN110410135015

Transdermal BPA Exposure Confirmed

Studies show that BPA is absorbed through the skin and that cashiers who constantly handle receipts have higher exposure

Stephen K. Ritter

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Bisphenol A

A pair of studies provides evidence that skin absorption is a key way by which humans are exposed to bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine-disrupting chemical that is under scrutiny for potentially being harmful to people. BPA is used as a plasticizer that is bound in polymers for making plastic bottles and food can liners, from which nanograms of the chemical leach out. BPA is also used as a color developer that is coated as a free monomer in milligram quantities on thermal-imaging paper used to print credit-card and cash-register receipts. Daniel Zalko of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, in Paris, led a team that measured the diffusion of 14C-labeled BPA through samples of pig skin and human skin. A significant amount of BPA diffused through both types of tissue and was metabolized to glucuronide and sulfate derivatives (Chemosphere, DOI: 10.1016/j.chemo​sphere.2010.09.058). Separately, Harvard University’s Joe M. Braun and coworkers monitored the diets and analyzed BPA in urine samples of 389 pregnant women. Cashiers had the highest BPA concentrations in their urine; teachers and industrial workers had significantly lower concentrations (Environ. Health Perspect., DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1002366). The studies help confirm speculation that BPA can be absorbed through the skin and that people who constantly handle receipts are at risk for higher exposure. Aware of the BPA-receipt connection, many retailers are in the process of switching to BPA-free paper.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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