In 2016, a study was published in the journal Endocrinology which revealed that the exposure of Bisphenol S (BPS) induces the formation of fat cells among humans. The researchers of the study discovered that even the smallest concentrations of BPS, exposed to the cells, can accumulate a large number of lipids. These lipids or fat-like substances collect in the blood and tissues of humans. Moreover, the research suggests that BPS highly interferes with the functioning of hormones i.e. highly influenced by the amount of fat present in the body.
Bisphenol S is the chemical replacement for Bisphenol A (BPA). During the 1960s, BPA had extensive use in the production and making of many polycarbonate plastics, including toys for infants. However, the health care experts raised many concerns against BPA, leaching into the contents of the plastic products.
Several studies proved that the population, when exposed to BPA, had increased blood pressures and infertility issues. Moreover, BPA interferes with the endocrine system leading to the excessive accumulation of fats.
Such reasons lead to serious concerns against BPA. This caused the manufacturers to use some other chemicals instead of BPA. They then opted for BPS. However, studies suggest that BPS might be as harmful as BPA and one of the pioneer examples of such studies is the one under discussion.
What does the study say?
For the study, the research team used preadipocytes taken from the hip, thighs, or abdomen of female volunteers. Preadipocytes are undifferentiated cells that could be stimulated to develop into fat cells. Various groups of such cells were exposed to different concentrations of BPS. The follow-up continued for 14-days.
On the other hand, some groups of cells were exposed to chemical dexamethasone. It is a corticosteroid medication triggering the formation of fat cells and lipid accumulation. It was done to compare the results of both chemicals.
The senior author of the study was Ella Atlas. According to her, the research indicates that BPS and BPA have comparable effects on the metabolism of the fat cells. It can be equally harmful as BPA.
BPS disrupts the functioning of the endocrine system
Another was study, evaluating the similar subject, was conducted in 2016. The researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) stated that BPA and BPS exposure disrupts the working or functioning of the endocrine system. Nancy Wayne was among the senior authors of the study. She along with her team observed the possible effects of low levels of BPA and BPS on zebrafish. The tested levels were corresponding to those found in polluted river water.
Wayne found dramatic physiological changes among the subjects after 25 hours of exposure. Moreover, some endocrine neurons increased by up to 40 percent which implies the overstimulation of the reproductive system as a result of exposure to the chemical. The team also noted that fish embryos exposed to either BPA or BPS developed faster and hatched quicker than normal. This was stated equivalent of premature birth.
Wayne suggests that this premature birth is the result of the overstimulation of neurons, regulating reproduction. Furthermore, BPA and BPS were found to affect both the estrogen system and thyroid hormone system. The thyroid hormone plays an important role in brain development during gestation. Thus, these findings may entail a huge risk for embryonic and fetal development in general.
The study concluded that the effects of BPA and BPS, observed in the zebrafish, may extend to human health, too. The researchers noted that making plastic products, using the alternatives of BPA, don’t render them safe to use. The alternative can be equally harmful. Thus, this procedure must be avoided and another environment and human-friendly replacement must be employed.