Companies advertise BPA-free plastic as a safer version of products ranging from water bottles to sippy cups to toys. Many manufacturers stopped using bisphenol A, a chemical that is used to strengthen plastic, after studies linked it to early puberty and a rise in breast and prostate cancers. However, bisphenol S, or BPS, a common replacement for BPA in plastics, has also been linked to health risks. New UCLA-led research demonstrates some of the mechanisms that make BPS just as harmful as BPA. The study found that BPS speeds up embryonic development and disrupts the reproductive system in animals.
“Our study shows that making plastic products with BPA alternatives does not necessarily leave them safer,” said Nancy Wayne, the study’s senior author, a reproductive endocrinologist and professor of physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Our findings are frightening — consider it the aquatic version of the canary in the coal mine.”