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Trader Joe's plans to remove controversial chemicals from its receipts

Trader Joe's plans to remove controversial chemicals from its receipts
Trader Joe’s is “now pursuing receipt paper that is free of phenol chemicals (including BPA and BPS), which we will be rolling out to all stores as soon as possible,” an executive said. (Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star)

Trader Joe's, the grocer known for its eclectic products (and Hawaiian-shirt-clad workers), said it will remove two controversial substances from its register receipts.

The chemicals — BPA and BPS — are widespread in register and ATM receipts, according to findings by the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based organization that works with consumers and companies to promote greener products and practices. A study released Wednesday in partnership with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of environmental and health groups, showed BPA and BPS were found in 93% of 208 register receipts tested. They came from a variety of businesses, including major retailers, banks, and gas stations.

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Trader Joe's is "now pursuing receipt paper that is free of phenol chemicals (including BPA and BPS), which we will be rolling out to all stores as soon as possible," Mark Sloan, vice president of product marketing, said in a statement. The Ecology Center sent a letter to Trader Joe's informing the grocery chain of its findings before the report was released.

Trader Joe's Co. is based in the San Gabriel Valley city of Monrovia. Through a trust, the company is owned by Germany's Albrecht family, which also controls the Aldi grocery chain.

The U.S. has banned BPA in sippy cups, baby bottles and formula packaging, following similar measures in Canada and the European Union. Some studies have shown the substance disrupts normal hormone functioning, particularly in younger people, while others have traced links to diabetes and obesity. The substance is also found in food can linings and various plastic items. The Ecology Center calls BPS a "common and regrettable substitute" with similar effects.

Best Buy Co. is among retailers using receipts free of the substances, the report said.

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families ranked Trader Joe's 25th of 30 in a ranking of retailers' chemicals policies released in November. It was one of nine that received a failing grade. Best Buy ranked seventh, with a grade of B.

Coleman-Lochner writes for Bloomberg.

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