A recent study has reportedly concluded that viable skin can absorb bisphenol A (BPA), raising concerns about exposure from handling BPA-laden products such as receipts. Daniel Zalko, et al., “Viable skin efficiently absorbs and metabolizes bisphenol A,” Chemosphere, October 2010. French researchers used both pig and human cultures to determine that “BPA is readily absorbed and metabolized by the skin,” which converted the substance into two conjugates known as BPA mono-glucuronide and BPA mono-sulfate. “The trans-dermal route is expected to contribute substantially to BPA exposure in human [sic], when direct contact with BPA (free monomer) occurs,” concluded the authors.

The study evidently confirms earlier findings released ahead-of-print in Environmental Health Perspectives indicating cashiers had the highest urinary BPA concentrations among a sample of 389 pregnant women. According to a November 2, 2010, Science News article, University of Missouri-Columbia Professor Frederick vom Saal has described the French research as “unequivocal in showing that yes, BPA can go through human skin.” He also noted that the new data reinforce worries about store receipts “because we know from many thermal papers that receipts can contain a heck of a lot of BPA.” Vom Saal is currently leading a study to measure the amount of BPA transferred to human skin from thermal receipt paper.