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Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S in thermal paper and erasers

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Dilena Pathragoda,Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Justice

By Ifham Nizam

The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) yesterday reveled that it had found toxic Bisphenol A (BPA) and Bisphenol S (BPS) in thermal paper receipts and phthalate in some erasers. The CEJ says BPA has been found in plastic feeding bottles and cups,

Thermal paper is a special fine paper coated with a material formulated to change colour when exposed to heat.

BPA is a known Endocrine Disruptive Chemical used in thermal paper as a colour developer. Receipts from cash registers are one of the main sources of human exposure to this chemical, CEJ Project planning and Management officer Chalani Rubesinghe said.

BPA is found to be associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a complex hormonal condition associated with irregular menstrual cycles), reduced fertility, increased risk of diabetes in women.

BPA affects fertility in men and is associated with sexual dysfunction among them. BPA is also associated with breast, prostate, ovarian, and endometrial cancers. BPA affects brain development and behaviour. Increased anxiety could result from exposure to this chemical.

“This is the second time, the CEJ is revealing the detection of such harmful chemicals in consumer products. It proves how exposed we are to these toxic chemicals. We hope that state officials concerned will take urgent action at lease now. We must impose strict regulations on all imported/ sold plastic goods including children’s products such as erasers and feeding bottles,” Dilena Pathragoda, Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Justice said.

The CEJ sent 31 thermal paper receipts from Sri Lanka for testing in South Korea. The samples included thermal paper receipts from banks, delivery receipts or general retail shops, hospital number tickets or receipts, local franchise stores, small supermarkets or convenience stores, large major supermarkets, bus tickets and a receipt from a hardware store. Except for one sample, all the rest had either BPA or BPS. The concentration range of BPA was 0.92% to 1.75%, and that of BPS was 0.49% to 0.78%. The level of BPA exceeded the EU standard of 0.02%, he said.

“Based on this study we recommend that people keep the least contact with the thermal paper type receipts they get from any source. We recommend the use of normal paper receipts instead of thermal paper bills/ receipts to all our merchandisers,” Rubesinghe added.

The said study was supported by the Wonjin Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health (WIOEH) with funds from Financial Industry Public Interest Foundation (FIPIF) in Korea.

The study included samples from eight countries namely; Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Vietnam, Japan and Sri Lanka.

The BPS (Bisphenol S), the alternative to BPA used in around 2012 is also found to interfere with hormone functioning.

Having these chemicals in thermal receipts increases the risk of exposure in both cashiers handling the receipts at workspace and consumers who take them. Researchers reveal that BPA in thermal paper receipts can easily transfer to human body through skin and this transfer is even faster when the skin is wet.

The study has revealed the presence of BPA in 55% of the total samples and the presence of BPS in 38%. None of the samples were found to have Bisphenol F (BPF), Bisphenol B (BPB), or Bisphenol.



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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