In an article published on April 11, 2016 by the magazine The Scientist, journalist Kerry Grens reports on recent studies investigating the effects of bisphenol S (BPS, CAS 80-09-1) and bisphenol F (BPF, CAS 620-92-8) – alternative but analogue substances to bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) – on cell lines and whole organisms. So far, very few studies have examined the cellular and physiological effects of BPA analogues, whereas BPA has been extensively studied and various endocrine disrupting effects have been reported.

Joel Cano-Nicolau and colleagues from the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm) and the University of Rennes, France, showed that BPS, BPF, and bisphenol AF (BPAF, CAS 1478-61-1) are estrogenic and induce an upregulation of the enzyme aromatase in the brain of zebrafish embryos, which converts androgens (e.g. testosterone) to estrogens. This indicates that these BPA analogues can interfere with the development of sex differences in the brain. Another study by Wenhui Qiu and colleagues from Shanghai University and the University of California, Los Angeles , U.S., showed that BPS interferes with the embryonic development of zebrafish by affecting the embryos’ hatching time, the number of brain cells controlling puberty and fertility, and expression of reproduction-related genes (FPF reported).

Boucher and colleagues from Health Canada found that BPS induces human fat cell precursors (preadipocytes) to accumulate lipids and increase the level of transcripts indicative of differentiation into fat cells (FPF reported). The study suggests that BPS acts through a fatty acid receptor called PPARγ, which controls fat cell development. Similar adipogenic effects have been shown for BPA in previous studies (FPF reported).

While interest in the effects of BPS and other BPA analogues is increasing, “BPA continues to be the prime focus of research and policy efforts to protect consumers,” Grens notes. “BPA-free” does not necessarily mean that a product is free of all bisphenols and – considering the similarity in effects of BPA and its analogues – such products may not necessarily be safer, Grens concludes.

Read more

Kerry Grens (April 11, 2016). “Effects of BPA Substitutes.The Scientist


Cano-Nicolau, J. et al. (2016). “Estrogenic effects of several BPA analogs in the developing zebrafish brain.” Frontiers in Neuroscience (published online March 24, 2016).

Qiu, W. et al. (2015). “Actions of bisphenol A and bisphenol S on the reproductive neuroendocrine system during early development in zebrafish.Endocrinology (published online December 10, 2015).

Boucher, J. et al. (2016). “Bisphenol S induces adipogenesis in primary human preadipocytes from female donors.Endocrinology 157:1397-1407.