Cash Register Receipts – A Hazard

Thermal Paper Receipts BPA

Thermal Paper Receipts

These days we are vigilant while choosing food containers, drinking bottles, plastic utensils for babies and so many other things. We scour the store aisles and online shops looking for products marked as BPA Free. But one category that goes unnoticed is the insidious Thermal Paper especially in the form of store receipts that accounts to a major portion of paper receipts that we handle.

Although any form of paper consumption is a serious toll on the environment, thermal paper poses health issues as well.


So, What is this Thermal Paper?

A special fine paper that is coated with a chemical that changes color when exposed to heat. It is used in thermal printers and particularly in inexpensive or lightweight devices such as adding machines, cash registers, and credit card terminals.

[More @ Thermal Paper]


Are Thermal Papers truly harmful?

There are some articles out there claiming that BPA absorption due to thermal paper is in very small amounts when measured against the MADL (maximum allowable daily dosage) and if handled properly, it doesn’t pose any threat. Yet there are many research organizations producing stats and proofs declaring its detrimental nature. There are plentitude of agencies strongly advocating against the usage of thermal paper receipts.

BPA is applied to the outer layer of thermal receipt paper. BPA can rub off on the hands when touched and can then be absorbed through the skin or transferred to food or mouth when eating.

And there are researches indicating that although some thermal papers claim to be BPA free, there are so many other chemicals involved in its manufacturing; put together they appeal for a complex toxicology.

The laws are also becoming stricter with respect to BPA and thermal paper.

Effective May 11, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment added BPA to the list of Proposition 65 chemicals known to the state of California to cause reproductive harm.

Businesses that fail to phase out the use of BPA-containing thermal paper before May 11 will eventually run the risk of receiving a Proposition 65 Notice of Violation from the plaintiffs’ bar.

Under Prop 65, businesses have a one-year grace period after the chemical has been listed to achieve compliance.

More @ Prop 65: BPA & Prop 65: Cash Register Receipts

It would be prudent to err on the side of caution and make mindful choices when it comes to paper receipts.


What can we do now?

Have you wondered why the store clerk asks you, “Would you like your receipt in your hand or in the bag?”

1) Say ‘No’ to Paper Receipts (of any kind) – In most cases you might not need that receipt again. Many stores can now handle returns & exchanges without receipts. If there is an option of digital or e-receipt, opt for it.

2) Go for Cash Transactions – If you are dealing with small business owners, check if they like to take cash. Ask for a hand written receipt, if you really want a copy. Many small businesses find it hard to have a choice of paper from their credit card merchant. Dealing in cash also helps the small businesses by keeping it simple and lowering their fees.

3) Wash Hands – Always wash hands with water after handing the thermal receipts. Handling thermal paper followed by cleaning hands with hand sanitizers raise the risk of heavy BPA Absorption. More@ BPA & Hand Sanitizer

4) Handle with Caution – Manage these receipts as if handling toxins. And keep them away from children.

5) Non-recyclables – Do not recycle thermal receipts and other thermal paper. BPA residues from receipts will contaminate recycled paper.


What about its impact on landfill then?

That is a bigger and unanswered question to me, although pragmatically thinking, the impact would be substantially detrimental.





My Perspective – “August: Osage County”

Tracy Letts August: Osage County

For the last couple of months, I have been working on the theatric production of the play “August: Osage County” written by Tracy Letts.  During an active production, there is hardly any time for anything else other than working towards the show live date. There are always things to do – designing, build sets, procurement, prop design & create, light, sounds, manage teams.  But now we are live with the production since last weekend. I see the results of the extensive hours put in building and fine tuning the sets and props. It has paid off well. Last weekend shows were remarkable, the audience loved them and I am looking forward to more such returns.

So now, I have some time to contemplate on the crux of this production, the script itself.

When I first heard about the play and read the script, the title seemed quite straightforward and befitting the story. The play is about a dysfunctional family. The play is set in the plains of Oklahoma. During one sweltering summer, an unfortunate crisis brings the three sisters back home to their rancorous mother. The plot revolves around these four, their significant others and kith and kin of the family. The script brilliantly weaves an intricate story bringing out the complex natures and traits of all the characters. There are horrendous secrets from the past and there are scuzzy doings of the present. There are seemingly innocuous advices coupled with wit and exploits. There are truckloads of dark emotions spilling all over. There is anger, resentment, betrayal and malice. It is uncanny to see how truth in raw form can be harrowing.

As I reflect now, not everything is as insalubrious as they seem. Among all these dire emotions, we also see a wee bit of love, care and lucidity thriving with whatever little they can hold on to.

Also, the portrayal of all the female characters (Mother Matriarch – Violet, Her Sister – Mattie Fae, Her three daughters, Maid) is worth mentioning in a positive light. Albeit each female character is distinct and has no overlapping personality, each one of them preserves their individuality. Each one of them is strong in their own way and stand up for what they believe in. Some are outright open about their stance and some open up taking a stance at least by the end of the story.

But what really catches my attention now is the title itself.  In this powerful play Tracy Letts has created shocks, surprises, wits and delights while writing about labyrinthine human nature and a moving subject. I doubt he would have chosen a direct and plain title for the play. I find no compelling argument to attribute the summer heat of Osage County to such a play. The more I think about it , the more I feel justified to conclude that Tracy might be playing with words here.

Do I see him nodding in agreement while I decipher the title and read in-between lines: There is nothing August about this family in “August: Osage County”.


Photo credit : google search.

“Resolutions” : From a Different Lens.

I had my share of “Resolutions” making-n-breaking years. I conveniently blame it on the teenage years when flaunting cool “Resolutions” was the in thing. If I could not come up with special or unique resolution for the New Year then I was not included in the happening circle. It didn’t matter to the girls if we couldn’t keep them for more than 2 days. Anyways, even before I was out of teenage years, I was done with the pretense and keeping up with the Joneses on the resolution thing.

A few years ago, intrigued by the New Year resolution declarations by my contemporaries  (of course, not teenagers anymore), I spent sometime thinking about resolutions and the reasons why they fail miserable. The cycle seemed still the same – “Make New year resolutions on Jan 1. Come Jan 31st all of them are forgotten.”

This rumination made me realize that making resolution itself is not bad. In fact, it can be very purposeful for an individual. Based on my understanding, there are at least four parts to making meaning resolutions and to make them stick:

For each resolution:

Step 1: Define Purpose

Step 2: Set Goals

Step 3: Bring to Practice

Step 4: (If ongoing) Build it as a habit

And trust me, it is still very hard to keep going. But since Step 1 to Step 3 requires immense clarity, effort and time, it just makes sense to keep going with the Step 4, until it becomes second nature.

I still don’t declare resolutions. I just identify purpose and work towards building good habits now. I have bagged very few successes and seen ample failures. Which means that I don’t have luxury to decide just on 31st December, but to continue doing these steps all year long.

New Year Resolution

But then who can disagree with Calvin?

Photo Credit : Google search / Internet.


Rolling into Another Good Year

Around Coastal Northern California

Rolling Hills of Northern California

These rolling hills near the shores of Northern California symbolizes everything I feel about rolling into the new year – Smooth, Velvety, Lyrical, Tranquil.

I hope you feel the same too.

Happy New Year from my heart to yours.

Photo Credits– Taken by my husband few years ago, when we still had ample annual rainfall. Location – close to home.