Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I know you definitely need one more thing to worry about

Those crazy environmentalists, they'll always find a way to harsh your mellow. Now it turns out that if we don't give you a receipt, you really ought to thank us. The thermal paper used to create cash register receipts commonly uses bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogen analogue that has been found to be associated with all sorts of health risks, from obesity to behavioral problems in children and heart disease. Not only that, but it can rub off on your fingers and then be absorbed into the blood stream.

This is probably not a big problem unless you work as a cashier, but still, who needs it? Especially when there are other sources of exposure and it adds up. This is a small matter but it is a cogent reminder that there are unintended consequences of all technological advances and we often don't find out about them until way down the road. Anthropogenic climate change is an example writ very large. We can replace BPA in thermal paper, although there is no sign of the EPA moving in that direction, but fossil fuel is the very foundation of our civilization, which is why it's much easier for a lot of people to deny reality than to face up to the developing catastrophe.

And here's a politician who achieves the impossible, setting a new standard for wingnut insanity.

I'm going to Baltimore this afternoon, for a short trip. Don't know if I'll have a chance to post tomorrow, if I don't, you know why.


kathy a. said...

huh. i didn't really think there were arguments about bikes -- good exercize, don't have to fire up the gas guzzler, not even complaints about crowding or weirdos on busses or trains. and what's not to love about a system of rental bikes? you don't even have to own one.

as for receipts, i toss most but have to keep some for taxes. but i can't figure out why this nasty chemical needs to be in the paper. weird.

C. Corax said...

I loathe thermal paper receipts. The print on them fades really quickly, so if you need to save the receipt for some reason--e.g. a big ticket item that requires a copy of the receipt for warranty service--it might not be legible when you need to use it.

It is perplexing to my why certain people foam at the mouth over cyclists. Did they never learn to ride when they were kids and so hate anyone who did learn? Did a bicyclist steal their first girl (or boy)friend? I'd love to don a hazmat suit and explore the inside of these morons' brains.