In an article published on August 24, 2016 in the scientific journal PLOS Biology, senior editor Liza Gross reports on estrogen-active chemicals bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7), its common replacement bisphenol S (BPS, CAS 80-09-1), and phthalates and their impact on human health. Gross outlines the discovery of BPA as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s and its industrial use as a monomer to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resin starting in the 1950s. “BPA now tops the list of high-volume chemicals, and is found in numerous consumer products, including water bottles, food packaging containers and can linings, and thermal paper products like cash receipts and boarding passes,” Gross writes. Exposure to BPA has been associated with “reproductive disorders, cancers, obesity, and other adverse effects in both animals and humans,” Gross further reports. Substances used as BPA-alternatives include the structurally similar BPS. “When one chemical comes under scrutiny, manufacturers often substitute compounds with similar structures to save time and money. But similar structures often cause similar problems,” Gross states. Exemplifying this, she refers to a recent study by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, U.S., showing that both BPA and BPS negatively affect the fertility of roundworms, triggering the death of germline cells and lowering the number of viable embryos (FPF reported). Another class of chemicals linked to reproductive problems are phthalates, which are also found in food packaging and other consumer products. A recent study showed that women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and having higher urinary phthalate concentrations produced fewer eggs and had fewer live births, Gross reports. “The negative effects of estrogenic chemicals we encounter every day include an expanding list of changes to intricately choreographed programs that shape our capacity to grow and thrive,” Gross summarizes.
Liza Gross (August 24, 2016). “Wreaking reproductive havoc one chemical at a time.” PLOS Biology