Fast Food Packaging Contains Dangerous Chemicals, Report
Fluorinated chemicals—used in products such as furniture, carpets, outdoor gear, cookware, and others to make them water-repellant, stain-resistant, and non-stick—are found in one-third of fast food packaging, according to a new report. These chemicals, sometimes called PFASs, have been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer, high cholesterol, infertility, thyroid problems and other hormonal disorders, as well as developmental and immune system problems in children.
Studies have shown that these chemicals can transfer from food packaging to the food itself and many of them have been eliminated from use in food packaging because of the health risks. A number of factors determine how much of the chemical is transferred to food—including the temperature of the food, how long the food is in contact with the packaging, and the specific chemical used.
The chemicals are used in fast food packaging because they repel grease and moisture. According to researchers, fluorine was found in 46 percent of food contact paper samples, 20 percent of food contact paperboard samples, and 16 percent of beverage containers tested. If you choose fast food, one way to reduce exposure to these chemicals is to ask for your food to be served in non-contact packaging—the outer bags used to contain an entire order, for example.
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