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Despite known negative effects of BPA and BPS in plastic, these toxic chemicals are still prevalent in many home products and food items. BPA and BPS exposure is linked with reproductive disorders, lowered cognitive function, behavioral problems in children and increased oxidative stress, among other health disorders. Reducing your exposure to these harmful chemicals is vital to lowering your risk of serious diseases and improving the health of your family
Although known to mimic estrogen's effects in the body, bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS) are still prevalent in many of your daily products and food items. Companies that produce plastic items are not legally required to report which chemicals are used in the manufacturing of their products, and many researchers believe that completely avoiding plastics is the best way to avoid these harmful and prevalent chemical compounds.
What Is Bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A is a synthetic phenol used in the production of plastics and epoxy resins and is one of the most widely used compounds on the planet.[i] You are most exposed to BPA through plastic food packaging, dental equipment, children's toys, canned foods (via the lining) and even receipt paper, and this dangerous chemical is linked to infertility in men and women, breast and prostate cancers and metabolic disorders.[ii] BPA is considered especially dangerous due to its tendency to bioaccumulate in the body.[iii]
What Is Bisphenol S?
Bisphenol S is a chemical compound often used to replace bisphenol A in plastic products, but its effects are just as harmful to the body's hormonal system and brain development. Like BPA, BPS is an endocrine disrupter and can be transferred from mother to child via placenta and milk, as well as through exposure to BPS-containing products.[iv]
As BPA's health effects have become more widely known and production of BPA-containing products has decreased, companies have switched to using BPS as an alternative, despite a growing body of evidence that BPS is just as harmful as BPA.[v] Many products that are labeled "BPA-free" contain high amounts of BPS and are equally dangerous.[vi],[vii]
Health Risks Associated With BPA and BPS Exposure
- Postnatal BPA exposure lowers cognitive function and increases behavioral problems in children.
Recent studies have found that BPA exposure negatively affects childhood behavior.[viii],[ix] Scientists have linked high levels of BPA in parental urine concentration with depressive and hyperactive behavior in their children, and found that prenatal exposure to BPA is linked to symptoms of depression and anxiety in boys..[x],[xi],[xii]
- Prenatal BPA exposure increases the risk of reproductive disorders in men and women.
Similar studies have shown that BPA exposure in pregnant mothers promotes fetal mutations and infections, is linked with miscarriage, negatively impacts fertility and the endometrium lining of the uterus, and may increase reproductive disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome in female children.[xiii],[xiv],[xv]
These results aren't limited to female reproduction, however, as various studies have shown that BPS exposure disturbs the antioxidant balance in testicular tissue, lowering testosterone levels and negatively affecting male fertility.[xvi]
- BPA and BPS induce oxidative stress.
BPA and BPS have been demonstrated to increase oxidative stress and negatively impact cellular energy metabolism, and a 2020 study demonstrated that BPA and BPS exposure significantly decreased intracellular antioxidant capacity and increased damage to biomacromolecules.[xvii]
- Estrogenic effects in the testis, lowering testosterone levels.[xix]
- Increased risk of structural and functional abnormalities in the liver, increasing the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.[xx]
- Increased risk of renal injury and chronic kidney disease.[xxi],[xxii]
- Increased instances of headaches, brain fog, brain aging, migraines, depression, anxiety, burnout, social isolation and fatigue, as well as a lack of ability to combat post-traumatic stress.[xxiii],[xxiv],[xxv]
- Long-term BPS and BPA exposure aggravates non-alcoholic fatty liver syndrome.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic liver disease caused by too much fat in the liver in people who consume little to no alcohol.[xxvi] Rates of this dangerous condition are on the rise, and research suggests that long-term exposure to BPS can aggravate NAFLD by affecting lipid metabolism, cell-signaling and hormonal homeostasis.[xxvii],[xxviii]
Other studies have linked perinatal exposure of BPA to increased risk of NAFLD.[xxix] Given the increase in both BPA- and BPS-containing products, researchers believe these compounds may explain the rise in NAFLD among children and adolescents, which is currently the most common cause of chronic liver disease in U.S. children and affects approximately 17.5% of adolescents.[xxx]
Effectively Reducing Your Exposure to BPA and BPS
It's more important than ever to reduce your daily toxic load by avoiding these harmful chemicals. Even if you've dramatically reduced or eliminated your plastic exposure, take the time to review these tips and take inventory of what household items may contain BPA or BPS:[xxxi]
- Choose cardboard or glass containers over cans
- Avoid canned food
- Use BPA- and BPS-free baby bottles
- Avoid plastics, especially in food and skincare products, or only use plastic products with a 1, 2, 4, or 5 in their recycling symbol
- Use frozen vegetables or fruits if fresh are unavailable
- Don't print your receipts (receipts are usually printed on thermal papers that are coated in BPA-containing resins)
- Use glass or ceramic dishes and tableware
- Remove toys with 3, 6 or 7 in their recycling symbol from your home; choose toys made from organic, natural materials
- Don't use plastic wrap or plastic baggies in your home
- Avoid plastic water bottles
[iv] da Silva BS, Pietrobon CB, Bertasso IM, et al. Short and long-term effects of bisphenol S (BPS) exposure during pregnancy and lactation on plasma lipids, hormones, and behavior in rats. Environ Pollut. 2019;250:312-322. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2019.03.100
[viii] Roen EL, Wang Y, Calafat AM, et al. Bisphenol A exposure and behavioral problems among inner city children at 7-9 years of age. Environ Res. 2015;142:739-745. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2015.01.014
[ix] England-Mason G, Liu J, Martin JW, et al. Postnatal BPA is associated with increasing executive function difficulties in preschool children [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 14]. Pediatr Res. 2020;10.1038/s41390-020-0922-6. doi:10.1038/s41390-020-0922-6
[x] Braun JM, Kalkbrenner AE, Calafat AM, et al. Variability and predictors of urinary bisphenol A concentrations during pregnancy. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(1):131-137. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002366
[xi] Mujtaba Ellahi and Mamoon ur Rashid (June 7th 2017). The Toxic Effects BPA on Fetuses, Infants, and Children, Bisphenol A Exposure and Health Risks, Pinar Erkekoglu and Belma Kocer-Gumusel, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.68896. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/books/bisphenol-a-exposure-and-health-risks/the-toxic-effects-bpa-on-fetuses-infants-and-children#B41
[xiii] Rutkowska A, Rachoń D. Bisphenol A (BPA) and its potential role in the pathogenesis of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Gynecol Endocrinol. 2014;30(4):260-265. doi:10.3109/09513590.2013.871517
[xiv] Hewlett M, Chow E, Aschengrau A, Mahalingaiah S. Prenatal Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors: A Developmental Etiology for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Reprod Sci. 2017;24(1):19-27. doi:10.1177/1933719116654992
[xv] Mujtaba Ellahi and Mamoon ur Rashid (June 7th 2017). The Toxic Effects BPA on Fetuses, Infants, and Children, Bisphenol A Exposure and Health Risks, Pinar Erkekoglu and Belma Kocer-Gumusel, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.68896. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/books/bisphenol-a-exposure-and-health-risks/the-toxic-effects-bpa-on-fetuses-infants-and-children#B41
[xvii] Huang M, Liu S, Fu L, Jiang X, Yang M. Bisphenol A and its analogues bisphenol S, bisphenol F and bisphenol AF induce oxidative stress and biomacromolecular damage in human granulosa KGN cells. Chemosphere. 2020;253:126707. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.126707
[xxv] Kovalchuk A, Kolb B. Chemo brain: From discerning mechanisms to lifting the brain fog-An aging connection. Cell Cycle. 2017;16(14):1345-1349. doi:10.1080/15384101.2017.1334022
[xxviii] Qin J, Ru S, Wang W, et al. Long-term bisphenol S exposure aggravates non-alcoholic fatty liver by regulating lipid metabolism and inducing endoplasmic reticulum stress response with activation of unfolded protein response in male zebrafish. Environ Pollut. 2020;263(Pt B):114535. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114535
[xxix] Lin R, Wu D, Wu FJ, et al. Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Induced by Perinatal Exposure to Bisphenol a Is Associated With Activated mTOR and TLR4/NF-κB Signaling Pathways in Offspring Rats. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:620. Published 2019 Sep 10. doi:10.3389/fendo.2019.00620