- Jun 16, 2012
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Many big-name restaurants might have certain chemicals in their food wrappers.The dangers of fast food have been discussed and studied for years now but a recent report decided to take a look at the packing instead.
A dangerous level of PFAS chemicals were found in food wrappers at many popular fast-food chains and grocery stores. Consumer Reports found these chemicals in products used by Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Nathan’s Famous, Cava, Arby’s, Stop & Shop, and Sweetgreen.
PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals.” This is because they do not break down in the environment. In food packaging, such products are used to keep grease and water from soaking through the wrappers and cups at these restaurants. Outside of the food industry, PFAS are found in stain-resistant furniture and carpet treatments. At these restaurants, PFAS are found in the ink used to print logos onto wrappers and cups.
“There is evidence from human and animal studies that PFAS exposure may reduce antibody responses to vaccines,” stated the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “More research is needed to understand how PFAS exposure may affect illness from COVID-19.”
Full Investigation Into PackagingConsumer Reports tested 118 food packages by 24 different companies in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. During these tests, the investigation targeted organic fluorine, which is a marker for PFAS. These samples were sent to an independent laboratory where specific tests could be performed.
In the US, there are no federal limits on how much PFAS can be found in food packaging. This means that it is up to the individual states to create their own mandates when it comes to limiting PFAS in restaurants. There are certain states that have banned intentional use of these chemicals. This includes Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington.
During the testing period, this report found that two bags from Nathan’s Famous contained the highest amount of PFAS — 876 ppm (parts per million) and 618 ppm. Chick-fil-A also had a high amount found in sandwich wrappers while fiber bowls from Cava were also contaminated.
There are certain studies from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that have found links between PFAS chemicals and an increase in cholesterol levels, a higher risk of kidney or testicular cancer, small reductions in infant birth weights, and an additional risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women.
These PFAS chemicals can make their way from the wrappers to the found although it would not be 100%. One way to limit exposure to such chemicals is to simply limit the number of times you take out food per week. Also, when you do take out, it should be from companies that have decided to take PFAS out of their products and avoid the chemicals all together.