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BPA: Are Your Dollar Bills Contaminated?

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American dollar bills. (Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt)

American dollar bills. (Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt)

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(CBS) – If dealing with money causes you stress, a new study isn’t going to make the holiday shopping season any easier.

Potentially toxic BPA – a.k.a, bisphenol A – has been found on dollar bills in a recent investigation conducted by the Washington Toxics Coalition in Seattle.

All but one of the 22 bills tested were contaminated with the pollutant, which gained notoriety when it was found coating cash register receipts. It can also be found in canned foods and baby bottles.

What are the risks? Preliminary research has linked BPA to cancer, heart disease, and other serious ailments.

Yet government scientists stop short of calling the hormone-disrupting chemical dangerous. “While hundreds of studies have been done on bisphenol A, there are still many questions that need to be answered before we can better understand the potential for current exposures to affect human health,” Dr. John R. Bucher, associate director of the National Toxicology Program, told CBS News.

The bills were likely contaminated due to their proximity to receipts, many of which have a thermal ink coating with BPA in it – a loose powder, according to Science News.

Just as BPA transfers from receipts to hands, so, in theory, could BPA transfer from greenbacks. But no one has proven that to be the case.

Still, given the potential risks, we wouldn’t put our money where our mouth is.

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