Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are cashier receipts a health hazard?

McDonald’s has categorically declared that Ronald McDonald’s will not be retiring, despite the protests from advocates who say the icon is leading kids down a dangerous path. But has anyone asked the clown how he feels? Clutching a fishing rod or four iron in those white-gloved mitts may not be so bad given the new allegations of how families are being put at risk.

First there’s an outcry because a 4-year-old took part of a toy from a Happy Meal, a piece intended to be used as a wrist bracelet, and wrapped it around his neck instead. The boy lost consciousness but was revived by his mother.

Tragedy was narrowly averted—so narrowly that the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection says it’s investigating the toy’s safety, which McDonald’s says it verified before using the “Air Bender”-themed giveaway as a premium.

The Department might want to check the mother’s credentials as a mom first, particularly her abilities as a teacher. What if she doesn’t tell the lad he shouldn’t tear off pieces of a burger and use them to plug up his nose and throat? Or not to take a lamp cord and wrap it around his neck? But, hey, that’s just one blogger’s opinion.

And now there’s a new safety allegation being leveled at the Golden Arches—presumably a first-of-its-kind in the restaurant and retailing industries. A child-safety watchdog group has alleged that the chain and many other service businesses are posing a risk to mom because of the receipts they provide.

The slips have a two-in-five chance of being contaminated with high levels of bisphenal A, a plastics byproduct that can affect human reproduction and intellectual development, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group.
Online coverage has speculated that the tainted receipts paper an also pose a risk to cashiers.

The accusations are based on a study by the EWG of receipts collected from McDonald’s, KFC, Whole Foods, Walmarts and a number of other service businesses. Forty percent had levels of BPA adjudged by the group to be high.

McDonald’s had yet to respond publicly as of this posting. Reports of Ronald shopping for a condo in Boca Raton have not been confirmed.

1 comment:

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