BPA’s Replacement May Be Just as Harmful

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been banned from children’s products in a number of countries, including Canada, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom, due to potential adverse health effects.  A growing trend has led to marketing everyday products such as plastic bottles and many baby products as “BPA-Free.” However, what is replacing BPA  in these products may be just as harmful.  Wenhui Qui, Ming Yang, and Nancy Wayne–scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles and Shanghai University–report their research findings on Bisphenol A (BPA), which is increasingly used as a substitute for BPA in everyday consumer products such as baby and water bottles, sports equipment, medical and dental equipment, teeth fillings, CDs and DVDs, and even water pipes. Qui, Yang, and Wayne’s research shows that BPS may be just as harmful as BPA. Research suggests that BPS not only disrupts healthy endocrine functions, including embryotic development, (as does BPA), but also is linked to obesity, cancer, and neurological disorders. Furthermore, researchers note, many possible side effects of long-term exposure to BPS remain unknown.

As of March 2016, corporate media coverage of BPS has been  minimal. There was an article in the Baltimore Sun, which ran a feature piece on someone who had experienced the effects of mislabeled products, and which briefly mentioned that BPS may not be better than BPA. In July 2015, the Washington Post published an article, titled “Advocates Note Safety Risks to Look for in School Supplies,” on the dangers of plastics in common school supplies, like backpacks, lunch boxes and water bottles. Though the article mentioned PVC and BPA, it did not include BPS among the plastics that could leach harmful chemicals into students’ foods or drinks.

Qui, Yang, and Wayne conclude: “Our work provides important supporting evidence that both BPA and BPS alter fundamental characteristics of the developing reproductive system in ways that could have later impacts on reproductive health. In sum, BPS is not necessarily a safer alternative to BPA.”


Michael Graham Richard, “‘BPA-free’ plastics often use Bisphenol-S… which might be just as bad,” Treehugger, February 1, 2016, http://www.treehugger.com/health/bpa-free-plastics-often-uses-bisphenol-s-which-might-be-just-bad.html.

Wenhui Qui, Ming Yang, and Nancy Wayne, “BPS, a Popular Substitute for BPA in Consumer Products, May Not Be Safer,” The Conversation, March 11, 2016 https://theconversation.com/bps-a-popular-substitute-for-bpa-in-consumer-products-may-not-be-safer-54211  [Re-posted as “Why That ‘Safe’ Plastic Alternative Might Not Be so Safe,” AlterNet, March 14, 2016, http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/why-safe-plastic-alternative-might-not-be-so-safe].

Student Researchers: Laura Beamish (University of Regina) and Nicole Barela (Citrus College)

Faculty Evaluator: Patricia W. Elliott (University of Regina) and Andy Lee Roth (Citrus College)