Bisphenols (e.g. BPA, BPS)

Found in

BPA, BPF, BPS: Polycarbonate plastic, food can linings, thermal receipt paper  BPA: dental sealants, powder coated metal cribs, bikes


Health Effects

BPA, BPS, BPF: hormone disruption, BPA: effects on reproduction & development, cancer; genetic damage; obesity & diabetes

More details

BPA is a chemical component of polycarbonate plastic in many food and drink containers and in epoxy resin coatings in food cans. Some children’s toys are also made of polycarbonate plastic, containing BPA. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) bio-monitoring program has detected BPA in the urine of 93 percent of adults sampled. (30)

Scientists have measured BPA in the blood of pregnant women, in umbilical cord blood and in the placenta, all at levels shown to cause harm in laboratory animals. (31, 32) BPA disrupts hormones in the human body and low-dose early life exposure is linked with reproductive and developmental problems, genetic damage (33) and cancer. (34, 35, 36) Higher BPA levels in urine were associated with ovarian dysfunction, (37) recurrent miscarriages, (38) cardiovascular diagnoses, diabetes, obesity, abnormal concentrations of liver enzymes (39) and reported heart disease in humans. (40)

There is growing evidence from both animal and human studies that BPA may be contributing to obesity. Perinatal exposure to BPA followed by a normal diet in increased body weight, elevated insulin and impaired glucose tolerance in adult rat offspring. (41) Children and adolescents with higher urinary BPA concentrations were more likely to be obese. (42) BPS has replaced BPA in many consumer product applications, such as thermal receipt paper, polycarbonate plastic, and other polymer applications. While the safety of BPS has been less studied, there is evidence that it is a hormone disruptor. (43)

In addition to BPA and BPS, other bisphenols have shown evidence of hormone disruption, including BPAF, BPB and BPF. (44) A recent study found that exposure to BPA, BPS, and phthalates, was associated with increases in oxidant stress, insulin resistance, albuminuria (a marker for kidney disease) and disturbances in vascular function in children. (45) Bisphenols in thermal receipt paper can be an important source of exposure for pregnant shoppers and cashiers in baby retail stores, who handle receipts, as these chemicals are easily absorbed through the skin.