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Lawmaker Wants To Ban Retail Receipts With Toxic Chemical

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Did you know the retail receipt in your wallet may contain hazardous chemicals?

Now there is a push to ban them in Illinois. CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez talked with the legislator behind the plan.

Most people have no idea that many receipts contain toxic Bisphenol A, or BPA. Some stores have gotten rid of it voluntarily. But legislation introduced Thursday will require all stores to find an alternative.

State Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park) introduced a bill that would regulate cash register and banking receipts.

"It's especially important because it rubs off on your fingers," May says. "It's a class of chemicals called endocrine disrupters, and they really do nasty things to our body."

They're linked to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, learning disabilities and more.

Scientists say when you get it on your fingers it goes through your skin and into your body. Even hand-washing doesn't take it all off. And using hand sanitizers can actually makes it worse.

May says it's also a workplace issue.

"Retail cashiers have up to 30 percent more BPA in their bodies," she says.

Chains like Whole foods and Costco and even smaller stores like Sunset Foods in Highwood already use environmentally friendly paper.

What can you do right now?  Never let children handle receipts. Put your receipts in an envelope if you plan to hang on to them. And make sure you wash your hands. Even though it won't get it all off, it helps.

Stores that have already phased BPA out include KFC, Taco Bell, McDonalds and by the end of the year drugstore CVS.

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