You already know that it’s calorie, sodium and fat laden, but now there’s another reason to rethink the amount of fast food you eat. Recent research has found that fast food packaging contains chemicals which may be harmful for the health.
The research, conducted by researchers at the Silent Spring Institute, the University of California and the University of Notre Dame and published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology Letters found that 33% of the packaging samples they surveyed contained fluorine chemicals.
Fluorinated chemicals are popularly used in fast food packaging as they don’t soak up grease, are stain resistant and non-stick. The chemicals in the packaging sometimes seep into the foods that are packaged depending on temperature, the type of food and how long the food is in direct contact with the packaging. The chemicals, which are sometimes called PFASs have been found to adversely affect human health.
“The most studied of these substances (PFOSs and PFOAs) has been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, elevated cholesterol, decreased fertility, thyroid problems and changes in hormone functioning, as well as adverse developmental effects and decreased immune response in children,” said the study authors.
The study looked at packaging samples from major fast food restaurants including Chipotle, McDonald’s and Subway. They processed their findings into a bar chart which displays the amount of flourine in different types of packaging:
“We’ve all heard that eating more fresh foods is better for our health for a wide range of reasons,” says Laurel Schaider, Ph.D., research scientist with the Silent Spring Institute and the lead study author. “This study provides another reason why.”
The researchers also suggest asking fast food chains to package their food in paper cups and bags and, on a whole, pressure them to change their packaging approach.
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