About the BPA in thermal paper project

This pollution prevention project encourages Minnesota businesses to voluntarily reduce the amount of thermal receipt papers they use and distribute to their customers. These papers typically contain relatively high concentrations of the chemical Bisphenol-A or related chemicals.

The current project runs through September 2014 and specifically targets the hospitality sector, paper recyclers, and other interested partners. The project will:

  1. test samples of papers from business partners and estimate how much BPA is contained in the thermal papers used by participating partners
  2. provide information to assist MPCA in setting guidance on best end-of-life management for thermal receipt paper
  3. assist partners in switching to paperless point-of sale systems, or as a second-choice option, implement other exposure-reduction strategies
  4. share the case studies of partner businesses and promote use of paperless systems to other Minnesota businesses

Bisphenol-A is commonly used in a variety of applications including in hard polycarbonate plastic resins, in epoxy resins for adhesives, sealants, and food can linings, and in flame retardants. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is also on the Minnesota Department of Health’s list of Priority Chemicals.  BPA is a reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic. It has been found in a majority of American adults and children and in Minnesota’s groundwater and lakes and streams,

BPA is useful as a heat-triggered developer for thermal receipt papers used at the point of sale in everyday retail outlets. Because of this, the receipts have become an avenue for BPA exposure for all who handle receipts, and a mechanism for spreading BPA through the environment.

While there are thermal receipt papers available that do not contain BPA, a common substitute, Bisphenol-S*, was recently evaluated by the EPA Design for the Environment program and thus far has not been determined to be a clearly superior alternative.

MPCA thanks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pollution Prevention Program for the grant which supported this project.

Project history

In early 2013 the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and its contractor, the Stratford Companies, called for interested hospitality businesses and organizations in Minnesota to participate as partners in this project. At this time, 19 voluntary partners are working with the contractor to test their thermal receipt papers for BPA and BPS content and implement changes to their point-of-sale systems and operating procedures to reduce the amount of thermal paper they use and the amount of BPA or BPS to which their employees are exposed. The hospitality sector includes restaurants and coffee shops, event centers, parks, resorts, hotels, etc.

Past news

Transition to Paperless Receipt Grant Funding

The MPCA offered Minnesota hospitality businesses the opportunity to apply for grants under the “Hospitality Business Transition to Paperless Receipt Grant Project”. The grants were used to reimburse up to $1,000 of costs for digital receipt subscription services to eligible applicants. The deadline for application was April 15, 2014 and the window for application is now closed.

BPA in thermal paper: Business paper use questionnaire

Businesses interested in participating can take the first step by completing this one-page online questionnaire about their current paper use. The seven questions take just a few minutes to complete.

Request for proposals: BPA in thermal paper project

The MPCA requested proposals from qualified responders to work with the MPCA to document and address the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal receipt paper used by the hospitality sector in Minnesota. The Responder is responsible for recruiting hospitality partners, coordinating and documenting testing of thermal receipt papers currently in use, assisting hospitality partners in researching paperless-point-of-sale technology options, and assisting them in switching to such systems.

The MPCA has awarded this contract to the Stratford Companies.

Request for information: Provision of paperless point-of-sale or e-Receipt systems and related services

Companies that provide services, hardware or software that facilitate paperless point-of-sale transactions or provision of digital receipt were invited to submit information. Information provided will be used by the MPCA and shared with businesses that may be interested in such services.

For more information

MPCA contact: Al Innes, 651-757-2457