Bisphenol alternatives workshop

Seven Bisphenol A alternatives will be the focus of the attention for several research projects

Bisphenol A (BPA) has become part of our daily lives due to the widespread use of BPA-based polymers in the manufacture of polycarbonates and epoxy resins since the 1950s. Bisphenols may migrate into food or drinks from food contact materials, such as epoxy resins used in food cans and polycarbonate plastics used in containers. Due to some toxicological concerns, the use of BPA has been gradually restricted in the EU in recent years. In 2011, the use of BPA in polycarbonate infant bottles was banned, and this ban was extended to children’s drinking bottles in 2018.  As of 2020, BPA is banned in thermal paper too. 

Consequently, BPA has been gradually substituted with a range of alternative substances. Some of them have been widely used in certain industries and have been detected in human biomonitoring studies, raising concerns abouts their potential impact on human health and the environment. In fact, several  BPA alternatives that are already in use have been found to have endocrine-disrupting properties – either individually or in combination – similar to those of BPA. In addition, while bisphenol substitutes have not been characterized as endocrine disruptors, they may still trigger other pathways, such as TBBPA, a flame retardant chemical, which acts as a PPARg activator.  Additionally, besides the industrial properties of manufactured polymers, substitution groups in bisphenols can alter the biological properties of the substances themselves. One of the ways this can happen is by affecting the ability of the molecule to activate nuclear receptors, among other cellular targets. While BPA alternatives are being developed and used as a substitute for this harmful chemical, they are also becoming significant environmental contaminants. Recent studies have raised concerns about the potential impact of these alternatives, either individually or in combination, on the endocrine system of non-mammalian species.

The detrimental impacts of such substitute substances will be studied in PARC to prevent any regrettable substitutions. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), are taking the lead on that work. A workshop was held in June 2022 to determine which alternative substances PARC should focus on, both in terms of human and environmental health.

In total, seven alternatives were prioritized, based primarily on identified data gaps: Bisphenol Z (BPZ) and bisphenol E (BPE), that are used in a variety of consumer products such as food packaging, thermal paper, and toys, Bisphenol S-methacrylate ester (BPS-MAE) and Bisphenol AP (BPAP), both used in adhesives, coatings, and plastics, Pergafast 201, a brand name for a flame retardant chemical commonly found in electronics, plastics, and textiles, Bisphenol P (BPP), used in products such as thermal paper and cash register receipts and Tetrachlorobisphenol A (TCBPA), a flame retardant that has also been detected in the environment and has been linked to adverse health effects in animals.

During the workshop, partners from work package (WP) 5 as well as national and European agencies came together to address the issue of BPA alternatives. The workshop began with informative presentations providing background information on the topic and were followed by breakout sessions designed to encourage discussion and collaboration among attendees and focused on identifying the specific needs related to human and environmental health.

The prioritization process for the BPA alternatives was based on a starting list of alternatives produced by the German Environment Agency (UBA), European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)’s feedback on the regulatory relevance of the alternative candidate substances as well as the specific needs of WP5 expert groups as of June 17 in 2022.

These seven substances will be the focus of several research projects led by WP5 to assess the risks and potential health effects during PARC. Throughout these projects, five toxicological endpoints or mechanism of action will be studied  endocrine disruption, developmental neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, non-genotoxic carcinogenicity, and metabolism.


For further information, please contact WP5 coordination team

  • Gilles Rivière - Gilles [dot] Riviereatanses [dot] fr (Gilles[dot]Riviere[at]anses[dot]fr)

  • Philip Marx-Stoelting - Philip [dot] Marx-Stoeltingatbfr [dot] bund [dot] de (Philip[dot]Marx-Stoelting[at]bfr[dot]bund[dot]de)

  • Kiara Aiello Holden - Kiara [dot] Aiello-Holdenatbfr [dot] bund [dot] de (Kiara[dot]Aiello-Holden[at]bfr[dot]bund[dot]de)

  • Celia García Arenas - Celia [dot] Garcia-Arenasatbfr [dot] bund [dot] de (Celia[dot]Garcia-Arenas[at]bfr[dot]bund[dot]de)

  • Thalia de Castelbajac - Thalia [dot] Decastelbajacatanses [dot] fr (Thalia[dot]Decastelbajac[at]anses[dot]fr)