The most common chemical used as an alternative to bisphenol-A (BPA) products could be just as bad for humans as BPA itself. A new study by the University of Calgary shows that bisphenol-S (BPS) is also responsible for abnormal growth in brain cells. Researchers are now concerned that BPS, once thought to be a safer option than BPA, might actually be worse. The new findings on BPS show that it causes the same abnormal growth in neurons that spurred manufacturers to ditch BPA in the first place. The real trouble is that the levels of abnormal brain cell development are actually higher than those caused by BPA. Researchers monitored prenatal cell activity in zebra fish, who share 80% of their genes with humans, and they didn’t like what they found.

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BPA mimics estrogen and is linked to prostate cancer, infertility, heart disease, and a host of other neurodevelopmental disorders. The alternative, BPS, seems to target male hormones, and might suggest why boys are four times as susceptible to hyperactivity and autism than girls. The study suggests that the most dangerous exposures occur during prenatal development, so researchers are warning pregnant women to avoid the dangerous plastics.

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Manufacturers abandoned BPA in the production of everything from baby bottles, pacifiers, toys, and water bottles. The vast majority of those products now contain BPS, and consumers have become accustomed to seeing “BPA-free” notices on packaging, without realizing that the chemicals used to replace BPA might come with their own risks.

After all, scientists assessed a variety of substances when considering alternatives to BPA, and initially determined that BPS was the best, safest chemical to replace it.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has an “innocent until proven guilty” policy when it comes to chemical compounds. Until a substance is proven harmful, the FDA considers it safe. The results of this new study point to the notion that BPA might actually be the safer of the two plastics, but that doesn’t mean BPA will be back. The only solution for families wishing to reduce the risks is to ditch plastics altogether.

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via Washington Post

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