Jackson’s restaurant in Commack is getting healthier, but the move has nothing to do with its menu.
The Commack business is taking the lead on a new Suffolk County law banning thermal-paper receipts, which contain BPA (Bisphenol A), a chemical known to be a risk factor for many illnesses, including cancer. The county already banned the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups in 2009. That law will go national this summer.
The Safe Sales Slip Act won’t go into effect until 2014, but Shelby Poole, owner of Jackson’s restaurant, has already made the switch to regular paper for its cash register receipts.
“It’s teaching me and hopefully other people that you can make a difference doing the things that you really want to be doing,” she said at a press conference last month.
Legis. Steve Stern (D-Huntington) sponsored the bill, which was signed into law by Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone Jan. 3. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor, which can lead to higher risks of cancer, infertility in men and brain damage, according to the Enviromental Working Group. Stern said that the new law would protect residents from exposure to BPA contained in thermal paper receipts distributed by retail establishments, bank ATMs and gas station pumps.
BPA is absorbed through the skin and through hand to mouth contact. It has been linked to cancers of the breast and prostate, endocrine disorders, learning disabilities, obesity and diabetes and is detectable in more than 93 percent of the population, the legislator said.
“Most people are unaware of the danger posed by a seemingly harmless piece of paper. This is unacceptable when inexpensive alternatives are available and being used by many retailers,” Stern said in a statement.
Businesses will have until 2014 to make the change from thermal imaging receipts to regular paper sales slips. Bellone said this year will give businesses the opportunity to learn about the health risks and make the switch.