“I think that might be the most scary use, here you have pregnant women in these ultrasound and imagery rooms handling these printouts with BPS,” said John Warner, president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry.
Data are not available on how much BPS is produced annually. Each year about six billion pounds of BPA are produced globally and more than one million pounds are released into the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical manufacturers, did not respond to requests for comment about BPS.
Research investigating possible health impacts from BPS is nascent.
Some studies have proven a link between BPS and estrogen mimicking, but these studies used such high doses it is unlikely people would ever ingest so much, Watson said.
BPS is only a little less potent than BPA in mimicking estrogen, according to a 2005 study in Japan. And a 2012 study in Europe found the two compounds to be equally potent in their estrogen mimicking.
Given the discovery of hormone changes spurred by BPS, some scientists say the chemical could be linked to similar health effects as BPA. Animal studies suggest that BPA exposure causes reproductive problems, obesity and cancers. In human adults, it has been linked to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Researchers haven’t focused much on BPS because they’re still trying to get policymakers to pay attention to BPA, Vandenberg said.
The EPA and Food and Drug Administration are currently reviewing BPA to determine if regulations are necessary. The EPA also mounted a program in 2010 with manufacturers and green chemists to evaluate BPS and other alternatives used in receipts.
This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.