Multnomah County Library switches to Bisphenol A-free receipt paper

PORTLAND, Ore. — Dec. 6, 2010 — In response to growing public concerns and emerging scientific data, Multnomah County Library is now exclusively using receipt paper that does not contain the chemical Bisphenol A, also known as "BPA." Multnomah County Library uses receipt paper primarily for "hold slips" -- slips placed in held items so that patrons can locate them -- and checkout receipts. Switching to BPA-free receipt paper will also realize a cost savings for the library.

"Two of Multnomah County Library's core service principles are respect for the public we serve and friendly, inviting and safe facilities," said Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke. "We believe that this positive change reflects these service principles in a smart, efficient way that is mindful of potential health impacts and responds to the concerns of both patrons and staff."

BPA is a hormone-mimicking endocrine disruptor first used as a synthetic hormone. BPA is now commonly used to produce epoxy resins used in many consumer products, such as canned food liners, in hard plastics and as a coating on receipt paper. Recent studies from various sources, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have raised concerns about exposure to the chemical, especially among pregnant women, infants and young children -- including links to breast cancer and other health problems.

BPA can also be present on receipt paper in higher concentrations. A recent study from Environmental Working Group found BPA on 40 percent of receipts sampled and found that the "total amounts of BPA on receipts tested were 250 to 1,000 times greater than other, more widely discussed sources of BPA exposure."

About Multnomah County Library

Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, with a history that reaches back to 1864. Today, Central Library and the other 18 neighborhood libraries that make up the library system house a collection of two million books and other library materials. As Oregon's largest public library, Multnomah County Library serves nearly one-fifth of the state's population with a wide variety of programs and services. Over 35,000 people use the library each day, either online or in person.