Short description

Bisphenols (BPs) are a group of synthetic compounds, among which bisphenol-A (BPA) is the most abundant. They are used as primary raw material for massive production of polymers, especially polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins and are therefore forming a wide variety of products, from food can linings, infant bottles, toys, receipts and many more, which are used in our everyday life. Early research suggested that BPA had little to no effect in the human body due to its rapid metabolism and thus, low bioavailability. However, in the last two decades data on its adverse health effects are accumulating. The molecular mechanisms proved its strong endocrine-disrupting and genotoxic activity. Due to its hazardous properties, the use of BPA was gradually limited or restricted in the European Union to protect human health and the environment.

The ban of BPA in consumer products has prompted the development and increased use of presumably safer BPA analogues. Up to now, more than 200 BPs have been identified as BPA analogues in consumer products (food packaging, toys etc.) and their global industrial production is expected to increase even more in the near future. As a result, various BPs occur in the environment in larger quantities. Despite intensive toxicological research on BPA effects, data for BPA analogues are scarce, while the information on their combined exposure is completely missing. Still, the health risks due to exposure to BPA analogues in general population remain poorly understood. Due to their structural similarity with BPA, the safety of the analogues has been questioned and research data have shown that they possess very similar or even higher endocrine-disrupting and toxic potential as BPA. The majority of BPA analogues are still not regulated and are not included in the legislation although many of them appear to be harmful to humans. In addition, the effects of co-exposures of several BPs should not be neglected as the interactions between chemicals can occur leading to additive, synergistic, or even potentiating effects, which can have even more prominent adverse health effects compared to those of single compounds. While knowledge on the endocrine-disrupting activity of BPA and its analogues is very comprehensive, data on their genotoxic activity are extremely scarce, thus the focus of the BPAnalogues project will be to study the genotoxic potential of BPA analogues and the mechanisms involved.

Within the postdoctoral project, we will investigate the adverse toxic effects of BPA analogues with the focus on their genotoxic activities and will unravel the underlying mechanisms of action on advanced in vitro 3D cell models. The project will provide new toxicological data on BPs that will lead to a better understanding of possible adverse health effects and therefore, will contribute to safety frameworks by better categorisation of BPA analogues.

This project is financed by the Slovenian Research and Innovation Agency (ARIS).
Project ID: Z1-3191
Duration: 1.10.2021 – 30.09.2023