Recycled toilet paper is dangerous ?

Is recycled toilet paper bad or good? Are you doing good or bad for the environment?

Like many of you good little girls and boys out there trying to be responsible citizens of Planet Earth, I’ve been buying recycled toilet paper for some time in an attempt to be more environmentally conscious.


I just found out that my efforts to go green in the bathroom have been thwarted. Recycled toilet paper turns out not to be such a good idea after all. In fact, it is a most decidedly BAD idea and here’s why.

Two recent studies published in Environmental Science & Technology have shown that BPA and cousin chemical BPS used in “BPA free products” but also highly estrogenic in nature, are much more pervasive in our common, everyday products than we could have imagined.

Yeah, that BPA free stuff is no better and will mess up your hormones just as much. But then, you sensed that was the case already didn’t you? I know I did.

The term “safe chemical” is kind of an oxymoron so if something uses chemicals, just assume they are toxic unless proven otherwise.

How does all this relate to recycled toilet paper?

The two new studies mentioned above involved examination of hundreds of samples of paper from everyday items such as toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, newspapers, magazines, tickets, and even business cards.

Most of the paper samples tested contained the hormone disruptor BPA, BPS or both.

How and why the paper was so contaminated is a question that requires further study to ascertain, but for now, the key is to avoid thermal paper as much as possible as this is the worst offender perhaps because it is often recycled and may somehow become contaminated during the recycling process. The ink may be involved in the contamination as well.

In fact, it is best to avoid touching all recycled paper period as BPA and BPS absorb readily through the skin – you don’t have to eat it to have them enter your bloodstream. If your job involves handling thermal paper receipts, for example, best to wear gloves. And, if you can turn down receipts and instead rely on an online itemization of your expenditures, that would be a good step as well.

As for your backside, opt for toilet paper made from virgin pulp. This is an especially important area to protect from BPA and BPS as the skin in these areas is thin and delicate and is in very close proximity to the reproductive organs.

How to know if it’s virgin pulp?

Simple. If the paper is not identified as a recycled product, odds are very good that it is made from virgin pulp.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

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