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The most dangerous professions. July 22, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Think you know the most dangerous professions? Soldiers, policemen, firefighters? Construction workers, people who work on electric lines, daredevils, racecar drivers, miners, people who do dangerous factory work like making acid-based batteries? How about NATO workers, nuns, Peace Corps and Red Cross volunteers and the like who venture into unsettled areas to try to help the poor and downtrodden?

Sure, these are the obvious choices. Farmers, exterminators, lawn and landscape maintenance crews (including golf-course maintenance), janitors and other cleaning personnel, and everyone else who exposes themselves to toxic chemicals on a regular basis also qualify. But let’s look at another group, the people who have no clue that their jobs are killing them, the average American Joes.

Our friend Ben has long been convinced that auto mechanics and salon stylists (for both hair and nails) are involved in dangerous professions because of all the toxic chemicals they’re exposed to all day, every day, in the course of their work. But now there’s another. Apparently cashiers also qualify.

We all know that standing on your feet all day without moving much can lead to varicose veins and other health horrors. But what catapults cashiers into the front lines is the composition of the receipt tape in every cash register. The tape is, for reasons unclear to our friend Ben, packed with BPA (bisphenol-A), an endocrine disruptor typically found in plastics and the linings of cans.

Endocrine disruptors interfere with the body’s normal hormone function and can lead to everything from weight gain to thyroid disorders, diabetes, breast and prostate cancer, and a host of other horrors. “Cash register receipts contain extremely high levels of BPA, which can transfer into the body through the skin. Tell the cashier you don’t need a receipt for minor purchases, and handle receipts as little as possible,” writes Lisa Turner in Better Nutrition.

Gee. Here our friend Ben thought register receipts were made from paper, and now we’re being told that they’re so toxic we should try not to handle them at all. (Sounds like an excellent reason to pay for purchases with cash, check or credit card, since if you use your debit card you’ll need the receipt to record the amount in your account transaction register to keep your bank records up to date.)

Think about it: If you’re like me, you probably handle a couple to a handful of register receipts a week. Cashiers handle them all day, every day. Given a choice, it would be safer and healthier all-round to stick to stocking shelves. You’d get plenty of aerobic exercise and weight-lifting on the job and avoid those toxic register receipts!

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