Bisphenol A, or BPA as it is now commonly known, is a chemical that has been used for the past 50 years in the manufacture of a large range of consumer products such as plastic bottles, food storage containers, toys, cd’s and dvd’s.
BPA is also used as a dye developer in the manufacture of thermal paper which is then converted into rolls for use in cash registers, tills, EPOS systems, credit card terminals and PED/PDQ machines.
BPA was scientifically developed to act as a dye developer in a coating on thermal paper. The chemical has heat resistant qualities that allow a stable image to be produced when it is exposed to a heat source as used in the thermal printing process. When heat is applied, it has all the properties required to ensure that the thermal paper changes colour safely without igniting.
This development was the key driver in the pursuit of cheaper and more efficient printing options across many applications including that of EPOS systems, tills, cash registers, credit card terminals, PDQ Machines and fax machines. Modern thermal printers are more cost effective as they have fewer printer parts and do not require consumables such as ink ribbons and rollers. Thermal printing is also quicker than the traditional dot matrix and action printers and produces a higher quality print.
Scientific studies carried out by government bodies reported findings that BPA can have several possible human health effects. These include hormone disrupting properties which affect a person’s reproductive capabilities.
However, in 2015 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stated that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group from current levels of exposure, including that found in thermal till roll and credit card roll receipt paper.
An in-depth scientific study conducted by Springer Verlag in 2010 concluded that a person who handles receipt paper for up to ten hours per day is exposed to approx. 71 μg of BPA in an average working day. This amount is 42 times less than the tolerable daily intake (TDI), or the estimated amount of BPA a person can be exposed to daily throughout their lifetime without a significant health risk. This study focused on people who use receipt paper extremely frequently, so most people are exposed to far lower amounts of BPA from receipt paper.
A copy of the Springer Verlag article can be found on the following link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00216-010-3936-9
In December 2016, the European Commission published a new regulation restricting the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper in the European Union (EU). After 2nd January 2020, thermal paper which contains BPA in a concentration equal to or more than 0.02% by weight will be banned from the EU.
So while the indication is that it is quite safe to continue using the existing rolls, at Premier Cash Registers we have now changed the whole range of our thermal rolls to be BPA-free. We can assure customers that, on testing, the new rolls do not suffer a reduction in print quality which was the initial fear.If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.