Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.
The chemical bisphenol A is seemingly everywhere—it’s in our receipts, our toys, our food containers, even our bodies—and it’s increasingly suspected as a factor in many health problems. Now the nasty stuff is even in lobsters, and it may be killing them off.
Treehugger tipped us to a story in U Conn Today on the research of Hans Laufer, a molecular biologist who believes that waterborne chemicals including BPA is contributing to the shell disease that is killing off lobsters in Long Island Sound. Laufer, reports U Conn Today, has
found that by interfering with hormones crucial to young lobster growth, chemicals such as bisphenol A can slow the lobsters’ molting patterns and interfere with regular development, leading to body deformations, susceptibility to disease, and potential death.
As for those BPA-laden receipts, Treehugger has some promising news, reporting that three large European grocery chains are planning to phase out BPA in their receipts. The move may add to the momentum to do the same in the United States. In the meantime, wash your hands very well after handling receipts from CVS, Whole Foods, Safeway, the U.S. Postal Service, Walmart, Chevron, McDonalds, KFC, and—get this—the U.S. House of Representatives cafeteria. See the Environmental Working Group’s website for a full breakdown of which receipts are the most, and least, toxic.