Bisphenol A alternatives in thermal paper from the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Screening and potential toxicity

Maria K. Björnsdotter, Willem Jonker, Jessica Legradi, Jeroen Kool, Ana Ballesteros-Gómez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Thermal paper contains potentially toxic additives, such as bisphenol A (BPA), as a common color developer. Because of its known endocrine disrupting effects, structural analogues to BPA, such as bisphenol S (BPS), D-8 and Pergafast 201, have been used as alternatives, but little is known about the presence and toxicological effects of alternatives other than BPS. In this study, thermal paper is screened by direct probe ambient mass spectrometry (rapid pre-screening method not requiring sample preparation) and by liquid chromatography (LC) with high resolution time-of flight (TOF-MS) mass spectrometry. Cash receipts and other thermal paper products (cinema tickets, boarding passes and luggage tags) were analyzed. Besides BPA and BPS, other developers only recently reported (Pergafast 201, D-8) or to the best of our knowledge not reported before (D-90, TGSA, BPS-MAE) were frequently found as well as some related unreported impurities (2,4-BPS that is a BPS related impurity and a TGSA related impurity). To gain some insight into the potential estrogenicity of the detected developers, a selection of extracts was further analyzed using a LC-nanofractionation platform in combination with cell-based bioassay testing. These preliminary results seems to indicate very low or absence of estrogenic activity for Pergafast 201, D-8, D-90, TGSA and BPS-MAE in comparison to BPA and BPS, although further dose-response tests with authentic standards are required to confirm these results. Compounds for which standards were available were also tested for developmental toxicity and neurotoxicity using zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos. TGSA and D-8 induced similar teratogenic effects as BPA in zebrafish embryos. BPS and 2,4-BPS did not induce any developmental effects but 2,4-BPS did alter the locomotor activity at the tested concentration. Our findings suggest that the alternatives used as alternatives to BPA (except BPS) might not be estrogenic. However, TGSA and D-8 showed abnormal developmental effects similar to BPA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-221
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Bisphenol A
  • Bisphenol S
  • D-8
  • Endocrine activity
  • Pergafast 201
  • Thermal paper


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