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Living Well

Chiropractic and Nutrition               413-663-5500


BPA Free Industry Bait-N-Switch

Manufacturers of products who can now promote their products “BPA Free” may be just pulling a bait-and-switch on you by substituting BPA for another product with its own toxic issues “BPS”.

The petrochemical bisphenol A (BPA), an ingredient in thousands of consumer products, which has been linked to a wide range of serious adverse health effects, has been removed by many manufacturers in favor of another equally toxin in the same chemical class, known as bisphenol S (BPS). This has allowed manufacturers of products as varied as thermal printer receipts to sippy cups to advertise their products as "BPA-free," while still exposing consumers to potentially harmful, and less regulated chemicals.

BPS is actually not only within the same range of toxicity of BPA, but is slower to degrade, and therefore will be more likely to remain a persistent toxin and environmental pollutant.  It has already been found to be present in the urine of 81% of those tested from the United States and seven Asian countries.

Studies have demonstrated BPS’ ability to mimic estrogen just like BPA. And recent University of Texas research on rat cells has found another key resemblance. BPS can cause endocrine disruption at the same low levels as BPA. To our bodies, it doesn’t appear to matter much if our ATM receipts contain BPA or BPS.

That makes BPS a dubious BPA substitute. But this hasn’t stopped manufacturers from switching to this “BPA-free alternative”—with marketing that implies it’s safer. As a result BPS now routinely shows up in blood tests. A 2012 study in eight different countries found it in 81% of the urine samples tested. A project at the State University of New York at Albany found it in 97% of samples—a level that actually exceeds the level at which BPA is found in the general population.

BPA_Free_Bottle_01.jpgIn many ways, the substitution of Bisphenol S for Bisphenol A, is just business as normal. Pharmaceutical companies, for instance, will often begin to phase out a drug when after years of causing side effects and even deaths it begins to lose its viability as a profit center because of accumulating lawsuits and adverse post-marketing surveillance research, as well as the impending expiration of its patent exclusivity. So, they simply alter the synthetic drug an atom or two, and reapply for a "new and improved" drug approval – even when, essentially, less is known about its toxicity; until, that is, the end users (we living guinea pigs) experience convincing bodily evidence that it does more harm than good.


Sadly, chemicals like bisphenols receive far less regulatory oversight than pharmaceuticals, despite the fact that exposure to everyday consumers can be much more widespread.

BPA_Free_BabyBottle_01.jpgMore tests are needed. In the interim, parents and others would do well to question what is in newly BPA-free items and to shop wisely. For truly healthier BPA- and BPS-free products, opt for ones that never had these chemicals in them in the first place, like glass and stainless steel. While avoiding BPS isn’t always possible when it comes to taking a receipt at the grocery store, it sure is when it comes to the kids’ hard plastic lunch containers.

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