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Consumer Alert: BPA-Free Goods Still Contain Toxic Bisphenol

BPA-Free Products Still Contain Toxic Bisphenol S

Breaking new research indicates that manufacturers throughout the world who were using the toxic hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA), may have simply switched to an equally toxic analogue in the same bisphenol chemical class known as bisphenol S (BPS), to evade regulatory oversight and trick consumers with their misleading "BPA-FREE!" labels....

If you are already sensitive to the highly concerning issue of toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products, you've probably noticed these "BPA-Free" labels popping up everywhere.  Bisphenol A (BPA), of course, is a chemical capable of disrupting our hormones, and is especially problematic in pregnancy, infancy and childhood -- times of greatest susceptibility to the adverse effects of environmental exposures.

Now that consumers are refusing to buy BPA-containing containers, manufacturers have had no choice but to oblige with seemingly bisphenol-free alternatives. Ironically, BPA is used to make Sippy Cups (and polycarbonate) shatterproof, and therefore "safer." But, instead of manufacturers actually removing the danger in BPA-free labeled products, many are capitalizing on this marketing opportunity by removing only the perception of danger, opting to substitute BPA for equally toxic members of the bisphenol chemical class.

An Alphabetic Soup of Toxic Bisphenols In Consumer Goods

While BPA has received the most negative attention, often being labeled as "bisphenol" for short, the bisphenols are such a broad chemical class that they are identified pseudo-alphabetically, spanning letters A-Z:

  1. Bisphenol A
  2. Bisphenol AB
  3. Bisphenol AF
  4. Bisphenol B
  5. Bisphenol BP
  6. Bisphenol C
  7. Bisphenol E
  8. Bisphenol F
  9. Bisphenol G
  10. Bisphenol M
  11. Bisphenol S
  12. Bisphenol P
  13. Bisphenol PH
  14. Bisphenol TMC
  15. Bisphenol Z


     Figure: Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A has become the primary focus of consumer advocates for several reasons:

1) It is the most extensively research bisphenol, with at least 40 potential adverse health effects identified in the biomedical literature thus far.

2) Canada became the first country to officially declare BPA a "toxic substance" in September 2010[1]

3) It has the highest production volume and use in consumer goods, with 2.2 million tons consumed globally in 2009.

Primary routes of exposure include:

  1. Plastics
  2. PVC water lines
  3. Canned Goods
  4. Thermal Receipt Paper
  5. All World Paper Currency
  6. Dental Sealants

Despite industry spokespersons and industry-funded scientists claiming BPA does not possess estrogenic properties of any biological significance, it was first acknowledged and used as an artificial estrogen in the early 1930’s, where it was used both to fatten poultry and cattle, as well as a form of estrogen replacement therapy in women in the mid-1930’s.[2]  Only later, in the 1940’s, did Bayer and General Electric use BPA to harden polycarbonate plastics and make epoxy resin, the latter of which is still used to line nearly the entire world’s supply of food and beverage containers.  Only Japanese industries, which responded to consumer concern about the toxic effects of BPA between 1998-2003, voluntarily reduced BPA in favor of safer alternatives.



         Figure: Bisphenol S

In the United States and abroad, in response to growing consumer concern over the safety of BPA, manufacturers have been rapidly substituting Bisphenol S (and possibly other bisphenol analogues) in its place.

How do we know this? After all, manufacturers are not required to list bisphenols explicitly on the labels of the consumer products within which they are used. Two new studies reveal that Bisphenol S (BPS) has become as dominant as BPA in manufacturing paper products we come into contact daily, as well as in terms of measurable human exposure....

New Research Proves Bisphenol A Is Secretly Being Replaced By Bisphenol S

First, a study published last week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found BPS in thermal paper from stores in the US, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, at concentrations similar to earlier reports of BPA. Concentrations were found as high as 22 mg per gram of paper -- two orders of magnitude higher concentrations than are considered biologically significant. BPS was also found in 87 percent of the paper currency assayed from 21 countries, indicating it is being utilized on a  truly global scale.

The same week the same journal published another study titled, "Bisphenol S in Urine from the United States and Seven Asian Countries: Occurrence and Human Exposures,"[3] revealing for the first time that Bisphenol S concentrations in urine from the citizens of 8 countries were within the same concentration ranges as Bisphenol A levels reported by the same research group in the year before.[4]

BPA Water Bottles

Is Bisphenol S Safer Because We Know Less About It?

Despite the industry-wide move away from BPA towards BPS, they both exhibit similar estrogen-like properties.  A 2005 study performed by a Japanese research group found that BPS was only a slightly weaker estrogen than BPA.  But, as the Environmental Health News reported in 2010:

They [Japanese researchers] tested the effects on human cells and found that bisphenol S was slightly less potent than BPA, but not by much: bisphenol S was active at 1.1 micromolar concentration, BPA at 0.63 micromolar. One micromolar is roughly equivalent to a packet of sugar in 3,000 gallons of water.[5]

A growing body of additional research now indicates that Bisphenol S is both estrogenic and uterotrophic (increasing the weight of the uterus), with clearly carcinogenic potential.[6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

A 2012 study published in the journal Toxicology In Vitro discussed the industry-wide shift from using BPA in plastic baby bottles to BPS after the European Commission imposed a restriction on BPA use in 2011, as a  direct result of scientific concerns over its estrogenic properties. The researchers found that "By using two highly standardised transactivation assays, we could demonstrate that the estrogenic activity of Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S is of a comparable potency."

The problem is that BPS is less well-known and researched than BPA for its potential adverse effects, and while regulators wait for manufacturers who promote their products with "BPA-Free!" stickers at the same moment that they infuse them with BPS to voluntarily reformulate, there is evidence now that BPS may actually have worse effects to environmental and human health, alike..

One of the main concerns is that BPS is significantly less biodegradable than BPA. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health in 2009, BPS "… is not amenable to biodegradation and might be persistent and become an ecological burden."[11]  Another study published in the journal Environmental Toxicology & Pharmacology in 2005 found that BPS is "…more heat-stable and photo-resistant than bisphenol A."[12]

BPS' relative inability to biodegrade indicates: 1) once it is absorbed into the human body, it may accumulate there for longer periods of time. 2) it is more likely to persist in the environment, making external exposures to it, and its many metabolites, much more likely than the faster degrading BPA. In other words, its potential to do harm will worsen along the axis of time, not lessen, which is a common argument made for the purported "safety" of BPA.

Are We A Population of Guinea Pigs Without The Precautionary Principle?

Recently, it was discovered that synthetic estrogens are leaching into our bodies from consumer products (e.g. parabens) and are now eclipsing natural human estrogens.  A paraben ester was found at 1 million times higher concentrations than natural estrogen levels in the breast tissue of mastectomy patients. After several generations of "better living through chemistry," we are discovering that we have poisoned ourselves and our environment (can we really separate them any longer?) into profound and possibly irrevocable disfigurement.  What is needed now more than ever is a paradigm shift in how we regulate our exposure to chemicals, and the industries that produce them virtually unrestricted.

Perhaps we must begin asking ourselves: What would the chemical and drug industries do without the twin disciplines of toxicology and pharmacology? The former provides ample justification for continually exposing us to "an acceptable level of harm" from the chemicals it secretes, and the latter convinces us just how we can’t live without "therapeutic" chemicals, e.g. pharmaceuticals. 

Until we demand the implementation of the precautionary principle in this country, and abroad, nothing will change ... other than, increasingly, our very biological and genetic integrity, for the worse. 

Related Article

Human Hormones Are Being Eclipsed By Synthetic Chemicals

Written by Sayer Ji, founder

[1] Canada Gazette Part II. 13 October 2010;144(21):1806–18.

[2] Erler, C. & Novak, J. Bisphenol A Exposure: Human Risk and Health Policy. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 2010. Volume 25:400-407. Accessed online March 1, 2012.

[3] Bisphenol S in Urine from the United States and Seven Asian Countries: Occurrence and Human Exposures. Environ Sci Technol. 2012 May 23. Epub 2012 May 23. PMID: 22620267

[4] Bisphenol S in Urine from the United States and Seven Asian Countries: Occurrence and Human Exposures. Environ Sci Technol. 2012 May 23. Epub 2012 May 23. PMID: 22620267

[5] Environmental Health News, Nov. 12, 2010 BPA: What’s the alternative?

[6] Weak estrogenic transcriptional activities of Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S. Toxicol In Vitro. 2012 Aug ;26(5):727-31. Epub 2012 Apr 5. PMID: 22507746

[7] Comparative study of the uterotrophic potency of 14 chemicals in a uterotrophic assay and their receptor-binding affinity. Toxicol Lett. 2004 Jan 15 ;146(2):111-20. PMID: 14643963

[8] Acute toxicity, mutagenicity, and estrogenicity of bisphenol-A and other bisphenols. Environ Toxicol. 2002 Feb ;17(1):80-6. PMID: 11847978

[9] Estrogenic activity of dental materials and bisphenol-A related chemicals in vitro. Dent Mater J. 2000 Sep ;19(3):245-62. PMID: 11218845

[10] Measurement of estrogenic activity of chemicals for the development of new dental polymers. Toxicol In Vitro. 2001 Aug-Oct;15(4-5):421-5. PMID: 11566573

[11] Biodegradation of bisphenol A, bisphenol F and bisphenol S in seawater. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Apr ;6(4):1472-84. Epub 2009 Apr 17. PMID: 19440529

[12] Estrogenic activity of alkylphenols, bisphenol S, and their chlorinated derivatives using a GFP expression system. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2005 Jan ;19(1):121-30. PMID: 21783468


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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Hemp as subsitute for petroleum based plastics.

Even as the prohibition in the 20's was a device by Rockefeller to monopolize the use of petroleum fuel as the standard for automobiles (by outlawing grain alcohol) outlawing hemp in the 30's was another manuever by Rockefeller to shut down an opposing industry they could not control as any farmer could grow hemp.
Hemp was basis of the paper industry (as a renewable resource we wouldn't have to cut down all our trees), as well as many others including, paint, stains, clothing, rope and plastic. By outlawing Hemp they were able to gain another monopoly of petroleum based, paints, inks, and plastic to name a few.
Henry Ford built an entire car out of hemp that ran on soy oil. Pictures can be found on the internet. This was a threat of the Rockefeller monopoly of oil. Hemp made a fantastic plastic that was strong and safe.
This is good example of just how much damage Rockefeller has done to America and the world. There are many other examples like pharmaceuticals and Bayer aspirin.

Rockefeller use to say "competition is  sin" but what he has done is the real sin.

Bisphenol S used in Baby Bottles - Additiona Citation

Avoid as much plastic as possible

Even if manufacturers stopped using all derivatives of BPA, I'm pretty sure they would brew up some other toxic chemical to replace it (whilst labeling it BPA-free).

It's best to avoid as much plastic as possible, bear in mind that BPA is absorbed through the skin so the keyboards, mice and computers that we touch each day can increase your BPA levels. Obviously there is a limit to what you can do without becoming an OCD plastic avoiding hypochondriac.

Drinking from any plastic container should be a stopped, including bottles water, cans, tins etc.

Especially stay away from tinned tomatoes, the natural acids in the tomatoes actually eat away at the can's BPA lining, greatly increasing the BPA levels. I've only buy bottle passata and very rarely eat anything out of a tin.

how do we know if it contains BPS?

is there a way to know if the plaxtics contain BPS?  how do we know what SAFE is nowadays??

Green info.

Thank you so much for putting this information out there. When my children were little, I didn't allow any plastic toys. Some other moms thought I was crazy but my kids were on my side because I taught them that crap will be here in some landfill long after we are gone. Not to mention trashing up the house with that garbage. If you eliminate the plastic toys, the ones that are left are a big improvement. Good job you are doing on this site. I often "share" your info on FB. Thanks again.


When companies "remove" some popular chemical that has gotten a bad rap people think that it is replaced with something non-toxic! Not ture! There was a recent study that showed 70% of BPA free plastics that were tested still leached indocrine disrupting hormones! They just replace one nasty well-known chemical with an unknown! Until we choose SAFE products this will always happen! Companies are driven by profits. If we stop buying it they will stop making it....but we need to be educated about WHAT to avoid and why...great post that does this! Thanks!!

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Sayer Ji
Founder of

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