Research indicates chemicals used as alternatives to bisphenol A in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins aren’t always safer

A growing body of research is raising questions about the safety of alternatives to bisphenol A (BPA) – an endocrine-disrupting chemical that regulators are cracking down on – that are being used to make plastics and epoxy resins.

There is a real danger of what researchers are calling ‘regrettable substitutions’, where BPA is replaced by structurally similar chemicals that elicit comparable health concerns.

‘When BPA-free products started to be advertised we knew enough about BPA to be concerned about regularly exposing people to this chemical, so that seemed like a victory until we started looking at the replacements,’ says Laura Vandenberg, an environmental health researcher at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in the US. ‘We have seen enough scientific evidence that we are starting to say “Ok, these are regrettable”, and if we need the amount of evidence of harm that we have for BPA, then we are going to have to wait another two decades or more, and that seems unreasonable.’