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BPA Replacement Alters Hormones at Low Doses, Study Finds

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Just like the controversial compound it's designed to replace, a chemical used in cash register receipts and other consumer products messes with hormones, according to research published today.

The study by University of Texas scientists is the first to link low concentrations of bisphenol S (BPS)  - a bisphenol A (BPA) alternative  - to disruption of estrogen, spurring concern that it might harm human health.

Researchers exposed rat cells to levels of BPS that are within the range people are exposed to. And, just like BPA, the compound interfered with how cells respond to natural estrogen, which is vital for reproduction and other functions.

Previous studies already have shown BPS mimics estrogen, but the new study advances that by showing it can alter the hormone at low doses people are exposed to.

"People automatically think low doses do less than high doses," said Cheryl Watson, a University of Texas biochemistry professor and lead author of the study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. "But both natural hormones and unnatural ones like [BPS] can have effects at surprisingly low doses."

Laura Vandenberg, a postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University who studies BPA, said one limitation of the research was that it used rat cells, but she was quick to point out the method is "extremely informative about predictions for a whole animal."

The study " is a great first research step on BPS and, in my opinion, should be sufficient to say this is an estrogen and we don't want it in our bodies," Vandenberg said.

As its name would suggest, BPS has a similar structure to BPA, which has been used since the 1950s for a variety of purposes, including the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics.


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