True Cellular Formulas Team - February 6, 2024

Navigating the "BPA-Free" Maze

Unveiling the Complexity of Plastic Safety


In an era where health consciousness is more than a trend, it’s a lifestyle, consumers are increasingly vigilant about the safety of the products they use daily. One of the most scrutinized materials in this health-conscious movement is plastic, particularly due to concerns around a chemical known as Bisphenol A, or BPA. BPA has been linked to a host of hormonal problems, prompting a wave of "BPA-Free" products flooding the market. On the surface, this seems like a win for consumers; however, the reality is more complicated and potentially just as concerning.

The Misleading Nature of "BPA-Free" Labels

The term "BPA-Free" is more than just a label; it's a marketing strategy designed to alleviate the concerns of health-conscious consumers. However, this reassurance is, in many cases, a facade. The removal of BPA from products often leads to the substitution of BPA with chemically similar compounds, such as BPF and BPS.[1] These alternatives are not just structurally similar to BPA; they also share its ability to disrupt hormonal functions within the body.[1-2]

The switch from BPA to its analogs like BPF and BPS illustrates a significant issue in the regulation and safety evaluation of consumer products. While these substitutes allow manufacturers to brand their products as "BPA-Free," they sidestep the broader issue of toxicity. BPF and BPS have been found to exert similar endocrine-disrupting effects as BPA, calling into question the safety of these "BPA-Free" alternatives.[1-2] This revelation is not just a matter of misleading labeling but reflects a deeper problem within the industry’s approach to consumer safety, where the replacement of one harmful chemical with another does little to protect consumer health.

Health Risks Associated with BPF and BPS

The conversation around the safety of BPA, BPF, and BPS goes beyond mere speculation; it is grounded in scientific research that paints a concerning picture of these chemicals' impact on health. BPF and BPS, much like BPA, are known to mimic estrogen, interfering with the body's hormonal systems.[1-2] This mimicry can lead to a plethora of health issues, including reproductive disorders, obesity, diabetes, and even an increased risk of cancer.[3] Recent studies have expanded these concerns, indicating that BPF and BPS might also contribute to cardiovascular problems.[4] These findings underscore the fact that simply replacing BPA with other bisphenols does not eliminate the risks associated with these chemicals.

The regulatory response to these findings has been varied, with some countries taking steps to limit or ban the use of BPA in certain products. However, regulations surrounding BPF and BPS are less stringent or, in many cases, nonexistent. This regulatory gap allows these chemicals to remain in circulation, hidden behind the "BPA-Free" label that many consumers trust. Understanding the full scope of health risks associated with BPF and BPS is crucial for consumers aiming to make informed decisions about the products they use daily.

The Problem with Plastic: Beyond BPA

The issues with BPA and its analogs BPF and BPS only scratch the surface of the broader problem with plastics. Plastics, by their very nature, are complex materials that can leach a variety of chemicals, depending on their composition and the conditions to which they are exposed. These chemicals can include phthalates, known for their endocrine-disrupting effects, and other substances that have yet to be fully studied for their impact on human health and the environment.[5] The cycle of substituting one harmful chemical for another in response to regulatory and consumer pressure highlights a systemic issue in the manufacturing and use of plastic products.

Furthermore, the environmental impact of plastic use is a growing concern. The production and disposal of plastic contribute significantly to pollution and are detrimental to wildlife and ecosystems. The persistence of plastic waste in the environment, where it can take hundreds of years to decompose, compounds the issue, making the shift away from plastic not just a matter of individual health but of global environmental stewardship. This context broadens the discussion from the safety of specific chemicals to a more holistic consideration of our reliance on plastic and its long-term implications for health and the planet.

Safer Alternatives to Plastic Containers

Acknowledging the risks associated with plastic, especially those labeled "BPA-Free," prompts a search for safer alternatives. Stainless steel and glass emerge as superior options for several reasons. These materials do not leach chemicals into food or drinks, ensuring that what you consume is as clean and safe as possible. Stainless steel is durable, resistant to corrosion, and easy to clean, making it an excellent choice for reusable water bottles, food storage containers, and cookware. Glass, on the other hand, is non-porous and free from chemicals, making it ideal for storing all types of food and beverages. It also has the added benefit of being microwave safe, unlike many plastic containers.

Transitioning to stainless steel and glass from plastic is not just a matter of purchasing new containers; it's about making a conscious choice to prioritize health and environmental sustainability. This transition can be as simple as replacing plastic items with safer alternatives when they wear out or actively seeking out stainless steel and glass options when purchasing new products. While the initial investment may be higher, the long-term health benefits and durability of these materials offer a compelling return on investment.

Making Informed Choices: Beyond the Labels

The journey toward reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in plastics is not just about avoiding products with "BPA-Free" labels. It's about becoming a more informed consumer. Understanding the complexities of product labeling and the subtleties of chemical use in manufacturing requires vigilance and education. Consumers are encouraged to research products, ask questions, and demand transparency from manufacturers regarding the materials and chemicals used in their products.

Supporting companies that prioritize health, safety, and environmental sustainability can drive change in the industry. By choosing products that are responsibly made, consumers can influence market trends and encourage more companies to adopt safer practices. This proactive approach extends beyond personal health, contributing to a broader movement towards environmental protection and sustainability.

The shift away from reliance on misleading labels like "BPA-Free" towards a more informed and conscientious approach to product selection is crucial. It empowers consumers to make choices that align with their health values and environmental concerns, fostering a marketplace where safety and transparency are paramount.


The reliance on "BPA-Free" labels as a hallmark of safety is misleading, given the potential health risks associated with alternative bisphenols like BPF and BPS. Shifting towards safer alternatives such as stainless steel and glass not only minimizes exposure to harmful chemicals but also supports environmental sustainability. This move demands a more informed consumer base, stricter regulatory oversight, and a commitment from manufacturers to transparency and safer materials. Ultimately, making conscious choices and advocating for change can drive the market towards genuinely safe and sustainable products, highlighting the power of informed decision-making in fostering a healthier future.

  1. Rochester, Johanna R, and Ashley L Bolden. “Bisphenol S and F: A Systematic Review and Comparison of the Hormonal Activity of Bisphenol A Substitutes.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 123,7 (2015): 643-50. doi:10.1289/ehp.1408989
  2. Winkler, Juliane et al. “Bisphenol A replacement chemicals, BPF and BPS, induce protumorigenic changes in human mammary gland organoid morphology and proteome.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol. 119,11 (2022): e2115308119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2115308119
  3. Konieczna, Aleksandra et al. “Health risk of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA).” Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny vol. 66,1 (2015): 5-11.
  4. Lu, Yuan et al. “Associations of bisphenol F and S, as substitutes for bisphenol A, with cardiovascular disease in American adults.” Journal of applied toxicology : JAT vol. 43,4 (2023): 500-507. doi:10.1002/jat.4401
  5. Wang, Yufei, and Haifeng Qian. “Phthalates and Their Impacts on Human Health.” Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 9,5 603. 18 May. 2021, doi:10.3390/healthcare9050603