Reasons to Avoid BPA and BPS in Plastic

Research links plastics common to many household items to several diseases and conditions
August 31, 2020 Updated: August 31, 2020

Despite known negative effects of BPA and BPS in plastic, these toxic chemicals are still prevalent in many home products and food items. BPA (bisphenol A) and BPS (bisphenol S) exposure is linked with reproductive disorders, lowered cognitive function, behavioral problems in children, and increased oxidative stress.

BPA and BPS are known to mimic estrogen’s effects in the body. These chemicals are found in common plastic products, including food containers. The companies that produce these items are not legally required to report which chemicals are used in the manufacturing of their products. As a result, 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. You are most exposed to BPA through plastic food packaging, dental equipment, children’s toys, canned foods (via the lining), and receipt paper. BPA is linked to infertility in men and women, breast and prostate cancers, and metabolic disorders. BPA is considered especially dangerous due to its tendency to bioaccumulate in the body.

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.

As BPA’s health effects have become more widely known, companies have started making products labeled as “BPA-free.” Unfortunately, many companies have switched to using BPS as an alternative, despite a growing body of evidence that BPS is just as harmful as BPA.

BPA and BPS Health Risks

Several health conditions have been linked with exposure to these compounds and research is still ongoing.

Behavioral and Cognitive Issues

Postnatal BPA exposure has been linked to lower cognitive function and an increased likelihood of behavioral problems in children. 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.

Reproductive Disorders

Similar studies have shown that BPA exposure in pregnant mothers promotes fetal mutations, infections, and miscarriage, negatively impacts fertility and the endometrium lining of the uterus, and may increase reproductive disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome in female children.

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.

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.

These effects have been demonstrated in various tissues including the testis, brain, liver, and kidneys. Oxidative stress is associated with:

  • Estrogenic effects in the testis, lowering testosterone levels.
  • Increased risk of structural and functional abnormalities in the liver, increasing the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Increased risk of renal injury and chronic kidney disease.
  • 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.

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. 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.

Other studies have linked perinatal exposure of BPA to increased risk of NAFLD. 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 percent of adolescents.

Reducing BPA and BPS Exposure

It’s important to reduce your daily toxic load and avoiding these BPA and BPS is part of that. Even if you’ve dramatically reduced or eliminated your plastic exposure, take the time to inventory what household items may contain BPA or BPS and follow these guidelines:

  • 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

For more information about bisphenol A and bisphenol S, their toxic effects and to review other research being done on these harmful chemicals, please visit the research databases.

For links to the studies referenced in this article, please find it online at

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