As the adverse health effects associated with exposure to BPA became well known, manufacturers began replacing it with an alternative chemical. Now, products that are labeled “BPA-free” very often contain a related compound known as bisphenol S, or BPS.

Despite claims that BPS is a safe alternative, very little testing has been done to substantiate these statements. Instead, recent studies have suggested that BPS may be just as dangerous as BPA. Bisphenol S has been shown to both mimic estrogen and disrupt how cells respond to natural estrogen. Given these findings, some scientists believe that BPS might be linked to some of the same health problems caused by BPA, including reproductive problems, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and various cancers.

Research has shown that exposure to BPS, even at low concentrations, can impact brain development and lead to hyperactivity, as well as heart arrhythmias. Considering that an estimated 81% of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine, it is important to be aware of the sources of bisphenol S and to limit exposure as much as possible.

BPS is a common component of thermal paper, which is used for cash register receipts and for ultrasound and other medical machine printouts. Consequently, an effort should be made to either decline receipts or have them emailed to you when possible. In addition, BPS is also used in some hard plastics. As always, the safest alternative is to use products that are made from materials other than plastic; however, try to wash your hands whenever you do come into contact with products that may contain either BPA or BPS.