How to Safely Handle Receipt Paper and ATM Paper Rolls

7 mins read
Paper Rolls
Paper Rolls


Receipt paper is something we handle almost daily without a second thought. Whether you’re grabbing a coffee, shopping for groceries, or withdrawing cash from an ATM, receipts are a constant. But recently, concerns have been raised about the safety of these seemingly innocuous pieces of paper. Is receipt paper toxic? Let’s dive deep into this issue and explore the safety of receipt paper and ATM paper rolls.

Understanding Receipt Paper

So, what exactly is receipt paper? Unlike regular paper, receipt paper often relies on a unique printing process and specific chemicals to produce text and images. It’s designed for fast, efficient printing, particularly in point-of-sale systems and ATMs.

Types of Receipt Paper

There are several types of receipt paper, each with distinct characteristics:

Thermal Paper

Thermal paper is the most common type used in receipts and ATM rolls. It features a special coating that changes color when exposed to heat, eliminating the need for ink.

Bond Paper

Bond paper is more like traditional paper and requires ink to print. It’s less common in modern point-of-sale systems but still used in some settings.

Carbonless Paper

Carbonless paper creates duplicates without using carbon paper. It’s often used for multi-part forms and receipts that need copies.

What Makes Thermal Receipt Paper Unique?

Thermal receipt paper stands out due to its thermal printing process. Instead of relying on ink, it uses heat to produce images. The paper is coated with a mixture of dye and a developer, which react to form the text and images when exposed to heat from the printer.

The Chemical Composition of Thermal Paper

The safety concerns around thermal paper primarily stem from its chemical composition. The key chemicals involved are:

Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA is a synthetic compound used in making certain plastics and resins. It’s also found in the coating of thermal paper to enhance its heat sensitivity.

Bisphenol S (BPS)

As concerns about BPA grew, BPS emerged as an alternative. However, it shares many structural and functional similarities with BPA.

Other Chemicals

Thermal paper may also contain various other chemicals, but BPA and BPS are the primary focus due to their potential health impacts.

Health Concerns Associated with BPA and BPS

Understanding Endocrine Disruptors

BPA and BPS are known as endocrine disruptors. This means they can interfere with hormone systems in the body, potentially leading to negative health effects.

Health Risks Linked to BPA

BPA exposure has been associated with various health issues, including reproductive problems, developmental issues in children, and an increased risk of certain cancers.

Health Risks Linked to BPS

Although BPS was introduced as a safer alternative, studies suggest it may have similar endocrine-disrupting effects as BPA, raising concerns about its safety.

Environmental Impact of Receipt Paper

The environmental impact of receipt paper is another critical concern. Recycling thermal paper is challenging due to its chemical coating, often leading to it ending up in landfills. Furthermore, the chemicals used in thermal paper can contribute to environmental pollution.

Safer Alternatives to BPA and BPS

In response to these concerns, safer alternatives have been developed:

BPA-Free Thermal Paper

Many manufacturers now offer BPA-free thermal paper. However, this often means using BPS, which, as we’ve discussed, has its own safety concerns.

Other Chemical Alternatives

Some companies are exploring completely new chemicals and coatings that do not pose the same risks as BPA and BPS. These alternatives are still under study but hold promise for safer receipt paper.

How to Handle Receipt Paper Safely

Tips for Consumers

  • Limit handling: Avoid unnecessary contact with receipts.
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands after handling receipts.
  • Store carefully: Keep receipts in separate compartments, not mixed with food or other items.

Tips for Workers

  • Use gloves: Wear gloves if you handle receipts frequently.
  • Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in workspaces where receipts are processed.
  • Education: Stay informed about the potential risks and safety practices.

The Future of Receipt Paper

The future of receipt paper may lie in digital and eco-friendly options. Digital receipts, sent via email or SMS, eliminate the need for physical paper. Eco-friendly paper options that avoid harmful chemicals are also being explored.

ATM Paper Rolls: Are They Safe?

ATM paper rolls are essentially the same as thermal receipt paper and share similar safety concerns. The chemicals used in ATM paper rolls can also pose health and environmental risks, making it important to handle them with the same precautions.

Regulations and Standards

Various governments and organizations are addressing these concerns:

Government Regulations on BPA/BPS

Many countries have regulations limiting BPA usage in consumer products, including receipt paper. However, BPS regulations are still evolving.

Industry Standards and Certifications

Industry standards and certifications help ensure that paper products meet certain safety criteria. Look for certifications when choosing receipt paper.

Real-World Case Studies

Numerous studies have examined BPA and BPS exposure from receipt paper. These studies have influenced many businesses to shift to safer alternatives, prioritizing consumer and employee health.

Public Awareness and Education

Raising public awareness is crucial. Consumers need to understand the potential risks and how to mitigate them. Staying informed through reliable sources can help you make safer choices.


In conclusion, while receipt paper and ATM paper rolls are essential in our daily lives, they come with potential health and environmental risks. Understanding these risks, handling receipts with care, and pushing for safer alternatives are vital steps in ensuring our well-being. As technology advances, we may see a shift towards more sustainable and safer receipt options.

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