Health & Fitness

Substituting BPS for BPA, not a good swap

The Who first recorded the song Substitute in 1970, the Sex Pistols in 1979 and the Ramones in 1993. The first line: “I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth.”

Another and more recent substitute concerning plastic manufacturing -- it includes spoons -- happens when the hormone-disrupting chemical BPA (bisphenol A) gets replaced by BPS (bisphenol S).

Today, you see a lot of plastic water bottles marked “BPA Free,” but it doesn’t mean much if there’s BPS present. Last year the Environmental Health Perspectives report for the National Institutes of Health stated, “Based on the current literature, BPS and BPF are as hormonally active as BPA, and have endocrine-disrupting effects.”

Now, recent lab research from UCLA with zebrafish has raised an even bigger red flag! Not only is BPS as harmful to the reproductive system as BPA, BPS actually could damage a woman’s eggs at even lower doses than the BPA it replaced. Lead scientists of the study said: “Our findings are frightening”; “egg-hatching time accelerated, leading to premature birth”; “consider [the zebrafish study] the aquatic version of the canary in the coal mine.”

Tips to avoid all bisphenols:

Store receipts, tickets and anything else printed on thermal paper is a big source of BPA and BPS. Try to avoid them, and wash your hands after you handle them. Store food in glass, and use plastics with recycling codes No. 2, No. 4, or No. 5. Don’t heat/microwave food or drinks in plastic containers, and avoid plastic food packaging whenever possible. Eat fresh fruit and veggies instead of canned.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit