Xeno's strange news awards blog.
Now that almost every baby bottle manufacturer in the country has already voluntarily stopped using toxic bisphenol A (BPA) in its product formulations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally gotten around to issuing a formal ban on the chemical from baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. But this ban means very little, as many manufacturers have already begun substituting bisphenol S (BPS), a potentially more deadly plastics chemical, in many BPA-free products, including children’s products.
Prompted by widespread consumer outrage over BPA’s use in children’s products despite its proven toxicity, the FDA reluctantly issued its basically useless ban, claiming that the decision “simply codifie[s] what the industry was already doing based on the preference of consumers,” to borrow the words of New York Times (NYT) writer Sabrina Tavernise. The FDA, in other words, is trying to assert its (ir)relevance in the matter after the fact, even though the people have already made the decision with their wallets.
Humorously, the FDA, while issuing its ban, made a point of reiterating its position that BPA is still safe, and that the ban has nothing to do with BPA’s safety. FDA Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor, former Monsanto lawyer-turned Vice President of Public Relations, stated publicly that his agency “continue[s] to support [BPA\’s] safe use,” this after the agency stated in 2010 that it had concerns about the effects of BPA on “brain, behavior and prostate gland[s] of fetuses, infants and children.”
Fortunately, the FDA’s dubious position on BPA reaffirms that the agency has no clue what it is talking about, and does not take actual science seriously. The FDA has long been in bed with the chemical industry, and its refusal to admit that BPA is toxic, especially to children, will eventually become the agency’s demise.
BPS is more dangerous than BPA
But an even bigger issue than BPA is its replacement, BPS, a chemical that was found in a recent study to have a significantly higher uptake in skin compared to BPA. Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the first ever study on BPS’ toxicity verified not only that the chemical is widely used, even in BPA-free products, but that it is also significantly more toxic because of its incredible absorption rate. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036497_BPA_BPS_chemical.html)
Few people are aware of the existence of BPS because nobody is really talking much about it. Just like with BPA, the safety of BPS was never properly tested prior to its quiet introduction and use in consumer products, which is hardly surprising since most of the chemicals used in consumer products today were never properly safety tested. (http://www.naturalnews.com/029167_consumer_products_chemicals.html)
“Compared with when BPA was more widely used, people may now be absorbing 19 times more BPS through their skin, and people who handle thermal cash-register paper in their jobs may be absorbing even more BPS,” says a recent U.S. News and World Report piece on BPS, quoting the words of a research scientist at the New York State Department of Health who led a study on BPS.
Related from over a year ago on Mercola.com:
BPA, an estrogenic plastic by-product used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, can leach into food or drinks from the plastic containers holding them. BPA has been identified as an estrogen-mimicking compound since the 1930s, and is known to be particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants and children. In fact, in the early 1930s BPA was used as an artificial estrogen to not only fatten poultry and cattle, but as a form of estrogen replacement therapy for women of the times. It was only in the 1940s that Bayer and General Electric used BPA to harden polycarbonate plastics and make epoxy resin.
It has since become one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals and has been widely reported in the media as being a suspected disruptor of your body’s hormones.
Canada, in September 2010, declared BPA as a toxic substance, but to date no other country has followed suit, although BPA has been banned in baby bottles in Europe and the US. As a result of the widespread consumer backlash, however, many companies have rolled out “BPA-free” plastic products, ranging from bottles and sippy cups to reusable water bottles, meant to appeal to those health-conscious consumers looking to avoid toxins.
Unfortunately, this may be just a ruse, as studies now show another bisphenol, bisphenol-S (BPS), is now showing up in human urine concentrations at levels similar to those of BPA.i This suggests that many manufacturers are simply swapping one bisphenol for another.
BPS May be Less Known, But That Doesn’t Make it Less Toxic
Similar to the way food manufacturers label a bag of gummy bears as “fat-free,” implying it’s good for you while staying silent about the massive amounts of sugar they contain, plastics manufacturers can legally make it appear their products are safe by labeling them BPA-free, even though they may contain BPS, or another similar toxic chemical, that they don’t mention. More corporate lies of omission that can and do hurt your health.
In the case of BPS, there’s reason to believe it is just as dangerous to human health, and possibly more so, than BPA, although the research is not nearly as abundant just yet. Writing in the journal Toxicology In Vitro, researchers stated:ii
“In 2011, the European Commission has restricted the use of Bisphenol A in plastic infant feeding bottles. In a response to this restriction, Bisphenol S is now often used as a component of plastic substitutes for the production of babybottles. One of the major concerns leading to the restriction of Bisphenol A was its weak estrogenic activity. By using two highly standardised transactivation assays, we could demonstrate that the estrogenic activity of Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S is of a comparable potency.”
Not only does BPS appear to have similar hormone-mimicking characteristics to BPA, but research suggests it is actually significantly less biodegradable, and more heat-stable and photo-resistant, than BPA. GreenMedInfo reports:
“… while regulators wait for manufacturers who promote their products with “BPA-Free!” stickers at the same moment that they infuse them with BPS to voluntarily reformulate,there isevidence now that BPS may actually have worse effects to environmental and human health, alike..
“… BPS’ relative inability to biodegrade indicates: 1) once it is absorbed into the human body, it may accumulate there for longer periods of time. 2) it is more likely to persist in the environment, making external exposures to it, and its many metabolites, much more likely than the faster degrading BPA. In other words, its potential to do harm will worsen along the axis of time, not lessen, which is a common argument made for the purported “safety” of BPA.”
A 2011 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that almost all of the 455 commercially available plastics that were tested leached estrogenic chemicals. This study lead to a bitter legal battle between Eastman Chemical Co. and the study’s author, George Bittner, professor of neurobiology at The University of Texas at Austin and founder of CertiChem and PlastiPure, two companies designed to test and discover nonestrogenic plastics.