Fast food packages and wrappers contain toxic products that can seep into food
Half of the packages with flourine, a highly fluorinated compound that is also used in non-stick products, in waterproof clothing and in stain resistant products.
More than 400 wrappings of paper, cardboard and beverage containers were analyzed from 27 fast food chains. Some popular as Taco Bell, Dunkin ‘Donuts, Starbucks or McDonalds.
Almost half of the paper wrappers (the paper envelopes for bread or the paper with which the hamburger is wrapped) and 20% of the cardboard wrappers (the boxes for chips and pizza) contained flourine, a marker for fluorinated compounds known as polyunsaturated and perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS). Formerly known as PFC.
To characterize the different types of PFAS present, a more detailed study was carried out with a subset of 20 samples.
In 6 of these samples was found perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a long-chain PFAS that has been linked to heart disease.
PFOA is currently being phased out in the United States, but other countries still produces them. Many companies have replaced them with shorter-chain PFAS compounds, which are not banned but are still harmful to health.
Do PFAS pass to food?
In this study, we only analyzed the presence of PFAs in the packages, and not in the food they contained. PFAS make wrappers and boxes resistant to grease.
There are previous investigations that have suggested that PFAS could pass to food.
It is difficult to know how much will really migrate from the packaging to the food. It depends on several factors such as: the temperature, the type of food, how long the food has been in contact with the paper and what is specific PFAS contains the wrapper.
Why are PFAS harmful?
These studies have linked exposure to PFAS, above certain levels, with adverse health effects. They can cause fertility and thyroid problems, delays in the development of children and increased risk of cancer.
Long-chain PFAS can remain in the body for years, and are very persistent in the environment.
They accumulate in landfills when we throw away products such as food containers, reach groundwater, and affect the supply of drinking water.
How can we reduce exposure to PFAS?
We are exposed to these chemicals through many different routes, such as non-stick cooking utensils or anti-stain treatments. All exhibitions are added, and although it is impossible to avoid them, avoid some of them, even if it is little, can help.
- Avoid fast food. Something especially important for children, as they are more sensitive to harmful chemicals
- Try to take the food out of its packaging as fast as possible
- Eat fresh foods
- Prepare meals at home
- Avoid the use of paper plates
- Do not buy microwave popcorn. Better if you do them.
- Avoid leaving food in its packaging for a long time