Scientists studying the toxic effects of BPA found paper companies have largely replaced it with a chemically similar compound, bisphenol-S. The study, which was recently accepted by Environmental Science & Technology, calls for toxicology research on this BPA alternative.
Kurunthachalam Kannan, co-author of the study and an environmental chemist at the New York State Department of Health, was tracking BPA concentrations on thermal receipts in 2010 when he and his team noticed paper companies were replacing the compound with BPS, reported Chemical & Engineering News.
Researchers in the study are concerned with the increasing use of BPS because it’s chemically similar to BPA, and exposure to BPS could be widespread.
BPA, or bisphenol-A, is commonly used in plastic packaging and other consumer products. Manufacturers have come under increasing pressure to stop using the chemical compound in light of studies that have linked BPA to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities as well as prostate tumor growth. The six largest makers of baby bottles stopped using BPA in their products in 2009.
However, it’s still widely used and its safety has been reaffirmed by the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority. The FDA rejected in April a petition to ban BPA from all food and drink packaging, saying studies on animals cannot be applied to humans.
In this recent study, BPS was analyzed in 16 types of paper and paper products, including thermal receipts, paper currencies, flyers, magazines, newspapers, food contact papers, airplane luggage tags, paper towels, printing paper and toilet paper.
Samples of thermal receipt paper – a product that allows people to easily absorb the compound – found BPS concentrations that were similar to earlier reports of BPA. The study, which took samples of thermal paper from stores in the US, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, found an average concentration of 0.181 milligrams of BPS per gram of paper. Some samples were as high as 22 mg per gram of paper.
BPS was found in 87 percent of currency bill samples from 21 countries.
The general population absorbs about 291 nanograms of BPS per day, according to the study. High-risk populations, such as store clerks who handle a lot of receipts, may absorb up to 21,804 ng a day.
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