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Avoid replacing bisphenol A by bisphenol B

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News of 16/10/2019

Bisphenol B has endocrine properties similar to those of bisphenol A. This is the conclusion of the ANSES experts whose work is published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. This article reports the results of an assessment of the endocrine-disrupting properties of bisphenol B (BPB) conducted in September 2018 as part of the French National Endocrine Disruptor Strategy (SNPE 1).

The experts developed a novel analytical method based on the structural similarity between bisphenol A (BPA) and BPB, an approach that is designed to be more inclusive than the one currently applied at the regulatory level in Europe. The experts considered the possible effects of BPB on humans and wildlife observed during laboratory tests on different vertebrate species such as rodents or fish.

The data obtained demonstrate BPB's ability to interfere with the oestrogen signalling pathway, reduce testosterone production, alter steroidogenesis, modify spermatogenesis in rats and zebrafish, and impair reproduction in fish. This oestrogenic activity and the inhibition of testosterone production are consistent with the endocrine activity of BPA.

This work therefore concludes that BPB has endocrine properties similar to those of BPA, the first chemical to have been identified at European level as an endocrine disruptor in humans.

BPB is currently used as an alternative for some uses of BPA and bisphenol S (BPS) in countries such as the United States, where it has been registered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an indirect additive used in certain food-contact coatings and polymers. Although not manufactured or used as a chemical in Europe (it is not registered under the European REACh Regulation), it has been found in biological samples from European populations (Cunha and Fernandes 2010, and Cobellis et al. 2009) as well as in environmental media in China (Yan et al. 2017, Liu et al. 2017). If it is identified as an endocrine disruptor under the REACh Regulation, this will prevent industry from developing its use or manufacture as a substitute for BPA or BPS. This identification will also require importers of items containing more than 0.1% of BPB to declare its presence.