Study of five bisphenol A analogues

Tuesday 08 Apr 14


Anna Kjerstine Rosenmai
Senior Researcher
DTU National Food Institute
+45 31 96 49 61


Anne Marie Vinggaard
DTU National Food Institute
+45 35 88 75 49

Bisphenol A, used in plastic packaging and paper, is suspected of having health-damaging effects in humans. The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, has investigated whether five compounds resembling bisphenol A can be used as alternatives. It turns out that the compounds tested have the potential to have the same harmful effects as bisphenol A, and the National Food Institute cautions against using them before more data is available.

The National Food Institute has tested five compounds with a chemical structure similar to that of bisphenol A. The study shows that the five test compounds potentially have effects similar to those of bisphenol A. Based on these findings the National Food Institute considers it unwise to replace bisphenol A with the compounds in question before more data is available.

Endocrine disrupting chemical and prohibited for certain uses

Bisphenol A is a chemical compound used for e.g. producing certain types of plastics, for coating of cans and as a developer on thermal papers used for e.g. receipts. In this way, bisphenol A is found in some types of food packaging and paper goods.

The endocrine disrupting potential of bisphenol A is well known and low-dose exposure of the compound during fetal life in test animals shows changes in e.g. behavioral development and in development of breast tissue.

Bisphenol A is prohibited for certain uses in the EU and Canada. However, despite regulation of the use of bisphenol A, compounds with a similar chemical structure are used. Some of these compounds have been found in food products, packaging materials and humans, however in-depthknowledge about actual occurrence and use of these compounds is lacking. The National Food Institute is currently carrying out investigations of the occurrence of bisphenol A-like compounds in various types of plastics and paper.

Disturbed sex hormone systems
"The study findings illustrate that you should be reluctant to use structurally similar compounds as alternatives for chemicals known to be problematic"
Anna Kjerstine Rosenmai

The toxicological study covered a broad range of cell-based tests and computer models to compare the test compounds’ effects with those of bisphenol A. The findings show that bisphenol B, E, F, S and 4-cumylphenol have similar potential to cause endocrine disruption.

“The study findings illustrate that you should be reluctant to use structurally similar compounds as alternatives for chemicals known to be problematic. It is, therefore, vital that we continue testing the bisphenol A-like compounds for health-damaging effects”, says PhD student Anna Kjerstine Rosenmai, who conducted the study.

The five compounds tested showed estrogenic effects, blocked the receptor for male sex hormones, and affected sex hormone synthesis. Thus, they have the potential to cause some of the same harmful effects as bisphenol A.

Read more

The study of the five bisphenol A analogues was conducted by PhD student Anna Kjerstine Rosenmai and published in “Toxicological Sciences” on 22nd of February 2014.

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