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Corporate Overview

The Standard – August 2014

Bisphenol A (BPA)


Interest in the effect of Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure on human health has received increasing attention in recent years.  Regulatory agencies and manufacturers have responded to concerns regarding BPA by limiting its use and seeking alternatives to use as BPA substitutes.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is widely used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.  It has become more prominently studied since the late 2000s with the discovery of adverse effects on human health.  The majority of human exposure is a direct result of food and beverage consumption, as BPA has been used as a major component in plastics used to manufacture food and beverage containers (e.g. water bottles, cartons, food storage containers, polycarbonate tableware, etc.) as well as the lining of cans used to store food and beverages.  BPA can leach into food products from the containers, especially under circumstances of harsh detergents, high temperatures, and/or acidic conditions.  Along with food containers, BPA is also used as a component in the coating for thermal paper routinely used for sales receipts, allowing for an additional route of human exposure via dermal absorption.  
Upon uptake in the body, BPA mimics certain naturally occurring human hormones and can potentially interfere with functionality of the endocrine system.  The most common hormone that is mimicked by BPA is estrogen, which is of particular concern for pregnant and nursing women.  It has been documented that infants and children are more sensitive to adverse effects upon exposure to BPA due to their developing neurological and endocrine systems, as well as their immature hepatic system for detoxification and elimination of harmful substances.  In an effort to reduce exposure to humans, particularly infants and children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of BPA as an ingredient in baby beverage containers, the linings of infant formula cans, and other food can linings.  It has become more prevalent to see plastic containers marked with the phrase “BPA free,” which presents the question of what materials manufacturers are using in place of the BPA.
Several manufacturers have begun to use Bisphenol S (BPS) as an alternative to BPA.  The use of BPS is most prevalent in the thermal receipt paper industry; however, BPS has also been used as a key ingredient when manufacturing polyethersulfone (PES) plastic as a replacement for the polycarbonate plastics previously made with BPA.  A study conducted by the University of Texas has shown that BPS may be just as harmful to human health as its predecessor, BPA.1  The study shows that BPS, like BPA, has the ability to mimic estrogen, thereby disrupting the endocrine system and altering hormone levels.  Additional studies have supported this evidence as well.  In one particular study, zebrafish pairs were exposed to varying concentrations of BPS over a fixed amount of time; observations showed that even at exposure to low level concentrations of BPS, the endocrine system was disrupted and the development of offspring was negatively impacted.2  It is extremely important to monitor for the presence of BPA, and now one of its substitutes, BPS, especially as manufacturers are using BPS more to comply with the BPA regulations.
Cambridge Isotope Laboratories offers isotopically labeled and native standards of Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S to allow for the accurate testing of these pollutants:
Item Number Description Unit Size Price
CLM-4325-1.2 Bisphenol A (ring-13C12, 99%)  100 ug/mL in acetonitrile 1.2 mL $350
ULM-7106-1.2 Bisphenol A (unlabeled)  100 ug/mL in acetonitrile 1.2 mL $95
CLM-9319-1.2 Bisphenol S (13C12, 98%)  100 ug/mL in methanol 1.2 mL $395
Bisphenol S (unlabeled)  100 ug/mL in methanol 1.2 mL $125


1Bisphenol S May Be As Harmful as BPA, Environmental Health News, Jan. 26, 2013

2Effects of Bisphenol S Exposure on Endocrine Functions and Reproduction of Zebrafish, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (15), pp 8793–8800.

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