Due to its toxicity, Bisphenol-A has been replaced mainly by Bisphenol-S (BPS) and Bisphenol-F (GMP).
At the time, knowledge of BPS was very limited. The toxicology of Bisphenol-S is now better known and shows a toxicity at least equivalent or even higher than that of Bisphenol-A.
Bisphenol is a plasticiser, i. e. a chemical product added to plastics to modify their mechanical properties.
There are multiple forms of bisphenols: Bisphenol-A (CAS 80-05-7), Bisphenol-S (CAS 80-09-1) Bisphenol-M (CAS 13595-25-0), Bisphenol-P (CAS 2167-51-3), Bisphenol-F (CAS 620-92-8), Bisphenol-Z (843-55-0), Bisphenol-AF (CAS 1478-61-1)...
Bisphenol A (BPA) is the best known of all bisphenols because it was used in many consumer goods until its prohibition in 2015.
BPA was widely used for the manufacture of inner linings used in food containers (especially for children) and heat-sensitive checkout receipts.
BPA has been replaced by Bisphenol-S (BPS) but the toxicity of this molecule, whose structure is similar to that of BPA, is not sufficiently known.
The marking "BPA-free" means that the product does not contain BPA but may contain other bisphenols.
BPA continues to be used in resins and this is one of the reasons why it continues to pollute the indoor environment of houses and offices.
What are the uses of Bisphenol-S?
Like BPA, BPS is used as a plasticizer in plastic resins (polyether sulfone and epoxy) and as a developer in checkout receipts.
Thus the BPS has replaced the BPA in the protective coatings of food and beverage cans.
Since it is not chemically bound to the plastic polymer, it can migrate from the container and contaminate food. Humans can ingest BPS in addition to breathing it from the indoor air of buildings.
What are the health effects of Bisphenol-S?
BPA is known for its endocrine disrupting properties and its impact on testosterone production and male fertility. It is already considered by the European Union to be toxic for reproduction and an endocrine disruptor.
Used up to 10,000 to 100,000 tonnes per year, it is identified and registered in the REACH regulation.
ECHA (European Chemical Agency) considers BPS to be a possible endocrine disruptor because it is suspected of impacting fertility and harming embryos and fetuses.
The French National Research and Safety Institute (INRS) in its 2013 toxicological report states that bisphenol-S has estrogenic and antiestrogenic activity.
These properties result in a decrease in fertility, number of live births and number of live newborns in rats.
The INRS also points out the absence of toxicity data on humans.
In July 2014, the Health Watch Bulletin of the French National Food Safety Agency (ANSES) summarized two studies demonstrating the endocrine disruptive nature of the estrogen type (acting on the production and expression of estrogen hormones) of BPS.
In October 2017, the same summarized 3 scientific studies on the capacity of BPS to induce obesity and concluded that "the BPS used as a substitute for BPA is as harmful to health as or more harmful than BPA itself".
More recently, in pigs, it has been demonstrated that BPS is better absorbed by the body by ingestion. Thus, for the same exposure dose, the amount of BPS that passes into the blood is higher. In addition, BPS is eliminated more slowly than BPA. As a result, BPS has a higher bioavailability than BPA. Its longer residence time in the body could increase the duration of the hormonal disruption.
What regulations for Bisphenol-S?
Canada was the first country to ban the manufacture, import, advertising and sale of PC (Poly-Carbonate) baby bottles containing BPA.
There are no specific regulations concerning BPS.
In the European Union, BPA is prohibited in plastics. Despite its prohibition, BPA is still allowed in building materials (resins) and in certain non-food plastics. This source contributes to indoor air pollution by Bisphenol-A.
BPS is registered in the list of substances in the REACH regulation.
The United States allows the use of BPA in plastic. For American health authorities, BPA does not pose a health risk, particularly through the ingestion of food stored in plastic containers. No decision has been made regarding the BPS and it is authorized.
There are no regulations protecting consumers from exposure to Bisphenol-S
In summary, so far the level of evidence has not been sufficient to push the authorities to regulate the use of BPS in consumer products. However, the various recent scientific studies seem to demonstrate a risk to humans and it is very likely that in the coming years bisphenol-S will be banned as well as bisphenol A.
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