You are here : Home > News > Bisphenol A: dubious substitutes

Scientific result | Toxicology

Bisphenol A: dubious substitutes

​Bisphenol A, now prohibited in food containers, is sometimes replaced by bisphenol S and bisphenol F. A team from the CEA-IRCM has now demonstrated that the latter are also potentially dangerous.

Published on 15 January 2015

​Banned from baby bottles in Europe since 2011, bisphenol A is now prohibited in all food packaging in France. This widely used chemical compound found in the composition of plastics and resins is actually an endocrine disruptor1. It induces adverse effects on organs including the mammary glands or the brain, as well as on functions such as reproduction or energy metabolism. Moreover, it crosses the placental barrier and has a maximal impact during fetal development. Faced with finding substitutes, the plastics industry has already experimented with or used two structurally similar compounds: bisphenol S and bisphenol F, neither of which are regulated. And yet their dangerousness, never tested in humans or animals, is unknown.
A team2 from the IRCM has developed and used for several years the Fetal Testis Assay (FeTA). This test consists in observing the effects of various chemical products on the development and functions of human or rodent fetal testicles maintained in culture. The researchers could thus prove for the first time, in 2012, that bisphenol A inhibits the production of testosterone. This was shown for doses equivalent to the average concentration of bisphenol A that is generally found in the blood, urine and amniotic fluid in the population3. Impaired testosterone production during fetal development may lead to a default in masculinization, which is likely to result in altered sperm production in adulthood.
By performing the same type of study with bisphenol S and bisphenol F, the team has just demonstrated that these products also reduce testosterone production in fetal testicles. This is the first time that a deleterious effect of these compounds has been demonstrated on a physiological function, in humans and rodents. The researchers are therefore calling for an urgent assessment of their health impact.

  1. A compound that alters the functioning of the endocrine system.
  2. The Laboratoire de Développement des Gonades (laboratory of gonad development).

Top page