Bisphenol-S (BPS) has been described as the “safe” alternative chemical to harmful bisphenol-A (BPA), but new research suggests that it may result in similar health side effects, but the problems may occur much faster after exposure.
In findings published in the medical journal Scientific Reports, Canadian researchers indicate that exposure to both chemicals may cause heart function problems, but the side effects of Bisphenol S may occur twice as fast, occurring within minutes.
Researchers studied the effects of BPS and BPA in mice, exposing mouse hearts for 15 minutes with physiologically relevant doses which mimic typical human exposure levels. Within minutes, the heart function of the mice worsened after exposure to BPS. The same effects were seen for BPA, but the exposure time was slightly longer.
Exposure to the two chemicals depressed heart function in mice by dampening heart contractions, causing a slower blood flow, the researchers found. However, BPS decreased left ventricular systolic pressure within five minutes of exposure, while BPA affected the heart after 10 minutes of exposure.
Researchers said the effects were especially pronounced among females. This may be because BPS and BPA depress heart function through estrogen receptors, which females have at higher levels.
This could be an even bigger issue for people who already suffer from heart conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity. The effects of BPS could add additional stress to an already weakened heart, causing a heart attack or making a heart attack more severe.
BPA is a chemical used to manufacture many consumer plastic products, including the lining of canned foods, plastic water bottles, food packaging, thermal cash register receipts, car seats, and medical devices and tubing.
BPA is a known endocrine disruptor and research has linked BPA exposure to myriad health conditions, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, reduced lung function in children, and estrogen related diseases.
Regulatory agencies indicate there is a safe threshold of exposure, however, one study indicated even low exposure levels during pregnancy could cause genetic changes to a child.
Because of the widespread concern and emerging evidence regarding BPA, many companies began replacing BPA with BPS in consumer products, including toys, cash register receipts, and food containers. However, subsequent studies questioned the safety of that move.
While researchers expected to see the same effects in BPS as BPA, they said they did not expect those effects to occur at this speed.
“This is the first study to compare sex differences in the acute myocardial response to physiologically relevant levels of BPS and BPA, and demonstrates a rapid ability of both to depress heart function,” the researchers concluded. “This study raises concerns about the safety of BPS as a replacement for BPA.”