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BPS Is Used As A Substitute For BPA, But Is It Safe?


Like BPA, BPS can be found in a range of paper and plastic consumer products, but there’s little evidence that it’s any safer.

It’s no secret that bisphenol A (BPA) has been linked to health concerns in Canada. What may not be on everyone’s radar, however, is that what’s being used as a substitute may also be causing us harm.

Bisphenol S (BPS) is closely related to BPA in that it has a very similar chemical structure. It is also an endocrine disruptor and may be more environmentally persistent. Little is known about BPS occurrence in the environment, and there is little proof that the synthetic compound is a better substitute for BPA.

A new report in the journal Environmental Science & Technology is believed to be the first to analyze the occurrences of BPS in thermal and recycled paper and paper currencies. Researchers analyzed 16 types of paper from the US, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

According to the study’s press release, BPS was found in all of the receipt paper they tested, 87 percent of sampled paper currency, and 52 percent of recycled paper.

The researchers estimate that BPS is being absorbed 19 times more than when BPA was more widely used. People who handle thermal paper regularly at work could be absorbing much more.

BPA exposure
BPA, BPS’s predecessor, has been linked to breast and prostate cancer, neurobehavioural abnormalities, and increased risk of obesity and heart disease. It’s been found not only in hard plastics used in products such as food containers, sports equipment, and car parts, but also in a large number of paper products, including:

  • thermal paper receipts
  • thermal paper and fax paper
  • paper cups and food cartons
  • magazines and flyers (alive magazine is a BPA-free publication)
  • luggage tags, plane boarding passes, and bus tickets
  • some recycled paper products such as toilet paper, napkins, and paper towels
  • paper currency (contamination appears to come from proximity to paper receipts)
  • thermal paper receipts

Minimize your exposure to BPA/BPS

  • Choose BPA-free canned goods (avoid those that aren’t) or opt for frozen or fresh options.
  • Choose glass or stainless steel containers (hard plastics—especially plastic #7 may contain BPA).
  • Wash your hands after handling receipts and other paper products that might contain BPA/BPS.
  • Vacuum your house often and spend as much time as possible outside.



No Proof

No Proof

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD