The BPA substitute BPS may harm egg cells
In an NIEHS-funded study, researchers demonstrated that bisphenol S (BPS), a replacement for bisphenol A (BPA), disrupts fertility and damages egg cells in animal models. When they compared BPA and BPS, the researchers found that the negative effects of BPS on reproductive function were seen at lower doses than BPA and involved different genetic mechanisms.
Concerns about the safety of BPA, a chemical in plastics and other products, has led to BPA-free goods, but also to use of similar alternatives such as BPS. To compare the effects of both chemicals on the reproductive system, researchers used Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), or roundworms, a common laboratory model organism. They found that exposure to either chemical, or both chemicals, led to decreased fertility and damaged egg cells. BPS exposure also led to a stronger reproductive and DNA damage repair gene response than did BPA. These results suggest that BPS may damage the reproductive system more.
The researchers also found genetic differences in how both chemicals change reproductive functions in C. elegans. To confirm that changes were not unique to the model organism, they conducted an analysis of data from Toxcast, a mammalian toxicity database. This analysis also indicated that BPA and BPS affected some biological pathways differently.
The researchers suggested that BPS might not be a safe alternative to BPA. They emphasized the need for safety assessments of alternatives before they are used as replacements.
Citation: Chen Y, Shu L, Qiu Z, Lee DY, Settle SJ, Que Hee S, Telesca D, Yang X, Allard P. 2016. Exposure to the BPA-substitute bisphenol S causes unique alterations of germline function. PLoS Genet 12(7):e1006223.