When was the last time you went to Target and only bought what you intended to buy? Target is a favorite store for millions of Americans who enter only intending to spend $30 and end up with over $250 worth of things by the time they get to the car. People love Target because it’s clean, modernly designed, has a growing selection of safer products, and all the other things you can’t live without like school supplies. We kinda “expect more” from Target just like their logo.
Table of Contents
So why are dangerous chemicals coming off on my hands when I sign and handle Target’s receipt paper?…
Bisphenols like BPA & BPS are hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to weight gain, infertility, hyperactivity in children, early puberty & cancers. These chemicals are found in 93% of thermal receipts. In powder form, they easily come off into my hands and then later in my bloodstream. I really don’t need this kind of negativity in my life. This is why Mamavation is petitioning Target to offer digital receipts and reformulate to phenol-free receipt paper in order to protect customers from exposure to bisphenols. Not only do we feel like this matches their commitment–“At Target, our guests come first–they’re at the center of everything we do.” But it’s the right thing. Since women are impacted by this disproportionally affected by this, tell us, Target, are women important to you?…Prove it!
How You Can Help Today
There are lots of things you can do to communicate to Target that you would like them to reformulate their receipt paper. Below are four options for you right now. But please check back with us as we roll out additional ways to get involved.
- SIGN THIS PETITION
asking Target to reformulate to bisphenol-free thermal receipt paper
- Print out this letter, bring it to Target on Monday, June 25th, and hand it to the cashier or customer service desk so they know you also want to see this change
- You can let them know how you feel by commenting on their Facebook & Instagram wall OR by tweeting at them using #targetreceipts
- You can share this post to get more of your friends and family involved.
- Click here to sign up for our special newsletter keeping you informed about bisphenols and receive updates about the campaign.
Okay, I did my homework. The good news is Target has already created a safer chemicals policy recognizing that hormone-disrupting chemicals like parabens, phthalates, fire retardants & non-stick chemicals are bad for the health of their customers. It seems like so far in this new age of transparency they are a pretty dynamic willing to protect the consumer from things they deem necessary. But when it comes to protecting women and small children from dangerous chemicals in their receipt paper, they are lacking. A recent report found Target has BPS powder on their thermal receipt paper exposing millions to this dangerous chemical. We knew it was going to be a bisphenol, and now we know which one. Will Target side with women and protect us?
Reasons Why BPA & BPS Are So Dangerous On Thermal Receipt Paper
When you touch thermal receipt paper, it’s a major contributor to your body’s intake of toxic chemicals BPA & BPS. In fact, it’s estimated that the amount of exposure you have with thermal receipt paper is up to 1000x more potent than in food. The reason for this is it’s not bounded inside like it is in plastic and resins, it’s in powder form. Thermal receipt paper is coated with microscopic bisphenol powders that react to heat and create a print. That means handling receipts with biphenols inside increases your body burden of BPA & BPS. But to make matters worse, when you are female and have thinner skin, your body burdens goes up even more. And let’s not forget the children, they have thin skin too.
Watch my video interviewing Pete Myers, Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, about bisphenols in receipt paper.
So I’m sure this is more than you bargained for when you went to Target. Bisphenols are not safe for women or children (especially pregnant women) because they are classified as hormone disruptors and obesogens, meaning they can make you fat. Over 93% of the population tests positive for BPA, which has been linked to weight gain, infertility, early puberty, complications during IVF fertilization, hyperactivity in children, lowering Vitamin D in the body, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, inflammation, oxidative stress, breast and prostate cancers. Independent scientists are theorizing that a major contributor of that chemical in our blood is from thermal receipt paper.
What Have Our Governmental Agencies Done About Bisphenols?
The Feds have restricted bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles in 2012 out of precaution for hormonal impacts on babies, but have not moved to protect the rest of the population from its sister chemical, bisphenol-S (BPS). But under this new administration, some funny business seems to be going on when it comes to scientific research and industry collusion at the Food & Drug Administration. This year, the FDA suddenly declared that BPA had “minimal effects” on the consumer, but when you look into it further decisions made smell fishy. There wasn’t adequate scientific evidence to back up that claim–the study data wasn’t peer-reviewed by scientists, and they seemed to avoid looking at hormone disruption studies done by independent studies demonstrating small amounts matter to hormones. Long story short, their methodology was unfinished.
So what happened to the Feds? Well, a report was just released that analyzed emails from various federal agencies and chemical company, Monsanto, that may shed light on this. The Journal of Public Health Policy just released a report with evidence of corporate malfeasance and undisclosed conflicts of interest with respect to issues of scientific integrity and federal agencies. The findings, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, include evidence of ghostwriting, interference in journal publication, and undue influence of a federal regulatory agency. At Mamavation, based on the preponderance of the evidence, we believe the FDA must be falling under industry sway as well. Because we know that thousands of studies have been done on bisphenol-A and independent science clearly has shown detrimental effects of hormones, we think the FDA’s findings are suspect. It seems as if the FDA completely ignored all the science created independent of the industry and only focused on what the science created by industry. Other industries operate this way, so it’s not surprising.
The European Union armed with independent science took a completely different route. The European Union issued a ban on BPA in thermal receipts to take effect in 2020 and commissioned a study on the effects of BPS in thermal receipts as well. This shows that the European Union has sided with independent science over what the industry profiting from bisphenols. (When you are paying for public health care, you don’t want to make those types of long-term mistakes, right?) They are also taking the scientific warning signs of BPS very seriously. We expect to see a similar ban on BPS following the release of that study.
And on the state level, Connecticut was the first state in the U.S. to ban BPA in thermal receipt paper based on health concerns in 2011. They also banned BPA in food and beverage containers as well. No other states have enacted laws banning BPA in thermal receipt paper….yet. But just wait.
This video from Bpa-free.me is a great explanation of what is happening when you sign & handle receipts.
What’s The Deal with BPS? I Thought BPA Was The Problem
Scientists are warning that BPS, the sister bisphenol chemical, is looking to be just as dangerous if not more so than BPA. When I think of bisphenols I think of them as a group of “mean girl” sister chemicals. BPA is the leader of the pack, but her sisters are right behind her and they are just as bad. So when you are shopping and seeing “BPA-Free” labels everywhere, it’s possible those brands may have reformulated to the other “mean girl” sister BPS to fool you. This is what independent scientists refer to as a “regrettable substitution” whereas companies reformulate but use a sister chemical with a similar structure instead of using green chemistry to solve the problem like the consumer really wants. So it looks as if Target is using a BPS chemical on their thermal receipt paper and trying to fool us. Come on, guys! But since studies are showing that BPS may be actually WORSE, it’s time to see ALL the bisphenols go. Bisphenols, especially in powder form, don’t belong in thermal receipt paper.
Reasons Target Should Reformulate Their Receipts
There are several reasons why we believe Target should lead other national stores in protecting their consumers from bisphenols:
- Target has told us through their own slogan “expect more,” so we expect them to go out of their way to protect the women and children in their stores.
- Target has told us through their chemical policy they are looking for ways to protect their customers, but they only scored a B+ on the Mind the Store Report from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. That means when Target was evaluated by a third party to see how they were protecting their customers from toxic chemicals, they have lots of room to improve. Other stores like Walmart, CVS, Ikea, Whole Foods & Apple are scoring higher than them and we think they should catch up.
- I evaluated the Mamavation community and found the most common store we all shopped at was Target. So Target making this move would have a big impact on our community. (Join us FREE on Facebook. Females only!)
- Bisphenols just suck, especially for women, so this is also a woman’s issue. Most women I know like shopping at Target and always end up purchasing more than they intended to. When bisphenols are linked so closely with early puberty, infertility, and complications during IVF treatment, this is a perfect opportunity for Target to say “we love women!” by making us safer as we are shopping. It’s NOT COOL to find out shopping is potentially killing you.
Other Brands Are Reformulating to Bisphenol-Free Receipts Why Can’t Target?
There are other national brands that have tackled OR are presently tackling this issue–Best Buy, Lidl Grocery, Moms Organic Market & Trader Joes. These are examples of brands that have tackled this issue for the safety of their customers and are improving.
- Best Buy uses a thermal receipt paper that is bisphenol free, which means not only do they have safer electronics but have also gone the extra mile to make you safe at their store by reformulating their receipt paper. Kudos to them!
- Lidl Grocery, a German grocery chain opening across the US, began using phenol-free receipt paper in 2017 and now offers it worldwide
- Moms Organic Market (MOMs) a supermarket chain in the Washington, D.C. area uses receipt paper coated with vitamin C instead. (Mamavation doesn’t actually prefer this form of paper because of the additional additives that are inside that could pose a problem. We actually prefer what they use at Best Buy!)
- Trader Joe’s just announced they will be reformulating to bisphenol-free thermal receipt paper by the end of 2018.
What Options Does Target Have
There are tons of very viable options that can save Target money while reducing receipt impact. From saving paper to saving their customers health, I believe if they decided they wanted to do this, it would be very possible for them to accomplish. And the environmental impact could be huge. In Green America’s Skip the Slip report they estimated “if just one company as large as Walgreens – with nearly six million customers every day – ends its use of paper receipts, over 55,000 trees will be saved each year…This change would save 58.8 millions of gallons of water and keep 17.6 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.” So here are some of Targets options:
- No Receipt Option. Target can train their staff to ask the customer if they want a receipt before they start the transaction. This will cut down on the amount of paper Target uses which will save them money. And this also allows people just making smaller purchases with no intention of returning an item more flexibility.
- Provide an Optional Digital Receipt. Target can email you a receipt instead. This would be the best option for someone like me to track. And there is another added benefit to Target, because it allows them to collect emails so they can keep me in the loop about sales and special projects.
- Reformulate to the Pergafast 201 Thermal Receipt. The Pergafast 201 is what they have when you walk into Best Buy! Instead of using a BPA or BPS powder coating, this alternative was released in 2011. The substance doesn’t easily get into the skin. In other words, not as powdery.
- Reformulate to the Koehler-BLUE 4EST Receipts. The “blue forest” paper seems very promising and it’s even won an award, but it may be having supply issues. This paper uses a physical reaction to make the text appear instead. Heat applied to the paper activates carbon black paper underneath which results in print. Unlike the phenol thermal paper, this receipt paper causes no chemical reaction. This is the first thermal paper to be approved for direct contact with food. I hope their supply issues clear up for them so we can start seeing more of this paper soon.
- Reformulate to the Appvion-POS Alpha Free Thermal Receipt. This paper uses a vitamin C coating, which also makes it a subtle shade of yellow. But even though this receipt is slightly yellow, it doesn’t affect the visibility of the text. However, there are additional additives inside the paper my scientific advisors are concerned about.
- Reformulate to the ICONEX 2ST Thermal Receipt. Not much is known about this brand other than it allows printing on both sides of the page which can cut the need for paper. I have no idea what it’s made of.
- Reformulate to the Koehler KT 48PF Thermal Receipt. Not much is known about this option other than it allows receipts to last up to 50 years. Again, I have no idea what it’s made of.
But overall, it seems like Target has lots of options when it comes to solving this problem. They just need the willpower to make it happen.
Final Thoughts About Target & Additional Resources
We are at a crossroads right now where companies need to do more socially and environmentally to earn our loyalty and dollar bills. The brands that understand this will grow and prosper, but the brands that dig in their heels and decide to put profits over people will die like the dinosaurs. And good riddance because this is a new world! Thanks for being part of it!
For more information about how to make your home safe from hormone-disrupting chemicals like BPA & BPS, pick up a copy of Green Enough: Eat Better, Live Cleaner, Be Happier (All Without Driving Your Family Crazy!). Hang with us at Mamavation as we empower you to slay the foul-mouthed toxic dragons in your home step-by-step. And also make sure to sign up for our newsletter so we can keep you informed about the latest news & investigations so you can keep your family safe.