Last Updated Jul 30, 2010 4:26 PM EDT
What do cash register receipts have to do with high tech? Everything. They come out of peripherals tied to point-of-sale systems and are an example of how health, safety, environmental, and political issues that have confronted other industries now face technology. The considerations for reputation and legal safety are significant. Executives will need to address at a fundamental level how they approach business, make decisions, and run their operations.
Studies have found that people often have elevated levels of BPA in their systems. A noted chemist last year suggested that cash receipts could be a significant cause.
The receipts came from purchases made at places including Safeway, Whole Foods, CVS, Walmart, Chevron, McDonald's, the U.S. Postal Service and cafeterias in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. They also included three fast-food franchises (Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's) located in Japan.Chemical analyses turned up BPA on all but seven receipts. Sixteen hosted substantial quantities, averaging 1.9 percent BPA by weight of a receipt (and ranging from 0.8 to 2.8 percent).With only 36 receipts tested, the sample was laughably small. But these companies won't be laughing when many consumers who are already nervous about the chemical decide that anger and panic are the better part of rational analysis. And who will have to explain how a suspected carcinogen wound up on the receipts? The CIOs.
Think that this is an odd case of tagging tech for terrible tendencies? Not on your life. Here are just a few incidents that recently were in the news:
- Congressman Dennis Kucinich plans to push for a law to require warning labels on cell phones.
- San Francisco's cell phone radiation law is already subject of a law suit by a trade group.
- The recently passed financial reform bill has a mandate that electronics firms certify if their products contain materials from rebel-controlled mines in Congo.
- Apple (AAPL), Dell (DELL), HP (HPQ), and others had a taste of being Nike in an overseas labor scandal.
Image: Flickr user ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd., CC 2.0.