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BPA + the New Bisphenols - BPS & BPF!

On 09.05.2013 by Tracey Tipping

BPA, BPS, BPF + Other Bisphenols

While doing my usual round of BPA research last week, I was pretty stunned to learn that some companies are now replacing BPA with other chemicals from the Bisphenol family (oh, no there's a family of them!!) - primarily BPF and BPS.

New Study on BPA & the Other Bisphenols

A study published last week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry [1], sampled 9 different categories of foodstuffs (taken from Albany, NY, USA), including beverages, dairy products, fats & oils, fish & seafood, cereals, meat & meat products, fruits, vegetables & "others" (which included preserved & ready-to-serve foods).

The results were pretty alarming, with 75% of the foods sampled found to contain Bisphenols (mainly BPA and BPF).

* Not surprisingly, canned foods contained higher concentrations of individual and total Bisphenols in comparison to foods sold in glass, paper, or plastic containers (for more info on canned foods see our earlier post - How are People Exposed to BPA?)

* Thankfully, concentrations of Bisphenols in beverages & fruits were found to be low.

* The highest overall mean concentration of Bisphenols were found in condiments & preserved foods.

What on Earth are the Other Bisphenols & Should we be Concerned?

Bisphenols are the term used to describe a group of 16 different chemical compounds, one of which is BPA.

While a lot of research has been done into the toxicological effects of BPA - BPA is thought to be an endocrine disruptor and can trigger a wide variety of disorders, including reproductive issues, impaired brain function, cancer, cardiovascular system damage and the list goes on... (see our earlier post for more - What is BPA?) - there is little research that has been done on the potential health effect of the other bisphenols in this group.

However, the initial results on BPS (which is being used by plastic manufacturers as an alternative to BPA) aren't very encouraging. In GreenMedInfo's blog [2] on this issue, they point to a number of studies comparing the toxicological effects of BPA and BPS as being of "comparable potency" when it comes to the estrogenic activity.

More alarmingly however, is that BPS has been found to be less biodegradable than BPA which means that the potential for bio-accumulation is higher with BPS than BPA, ie. once it enters your body or the environment it will persist and accumulate for longer periods of time than BPA, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what we want.

This means that manufacturers can legally plaster bright, shiny BPA-free labels on their products even though they are now using BPS or another Bisphenol...

Where to from here???

Well, when it comes to chemicals & the environment the precautionary principle always wins out for me and, from all I have read, the Bisphenols are one family that I don't want to get to know any further.

It looks like we will need to switch our campaigning efforts away from "BPA-Free" and towards "Bisphenol-Free" instead.

In the meantime, if a product you are thinking of buying says BPA-free ask the manufacturer if it is Bisphenol-free or just BPA-free.

Looking for additional info on Bisphenols? Why not check out my top 5 tips for avoiding BPA and other Bisphenols!



[1] Concentrations and Profiles of Bisphenol A and Other Bisphenol Analogues in Foodstuffs from the United States and Their Implications for Human Exposure by Liao Chunyang & Kurunthachalam Kannan, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 24 April 2013.
[2] Consumer Alert: BPA-Free Goods Still Contain Toxic Bisphenol by Sayer Ji, GreenMedInfo, 1 June 2012.


This post was posted in Bisphenol A (BPA), Bisphenols, Reducing you Eco Footprint and was tagged with BPA, Exposure to BPA, Bisphenol S (BPS), Bisphenols, Bisphenol F (BPF)