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Fast-food is usually considered unhealthy, as it contains added salts, fats and sugars in most menu items, but how does the packaging of fast-food harm you?
A new study funded by the National Science Foundation and the Silent Sprint institute showed how chemicals used in an array of fast food packaging can be dangerous to consumers.
Health risks like cancer, thyroid disease, immune suppression, low birth weight and decreased fertility are associated with a chemical used in fast food packaging called PFASs (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) also known as PFCs, which are highly fluorinated chemicals.
“These chemicals have been linked with numerous health problems, so it’s concerning that people are potentially exposed to them in food,” said Laurel Schaider, an environmental chemist at Silent Spring Institute and the study’s lead author.
The study looked at over 400 samples of packaging from 27 fast food chains and tested how the potentially harmful chemicals can leach into food. Many of the packaging used in Tex-Mex desserts like and bread wrappers were most likely to carry the toxic chemical.
Experts from the study also warned that children are especially at risk to these toxic chemicals as their bodies are still developing.
Researchers also noted that many of these chemicals have been found accumulated in landfill sites, that can potentially impact groundwater, soil, and plants, and should not be used as there are non-fluorinated alternatives available.
Health and the environment go hand in hand. Ensuring there is healthy food, clean water, and clean air is vital to everyone’s health. Decreasing consumption of unhealthy fast-food options can also decrease use and trash of these toxic chemicals.
Offering healthier foods with safe packaging must remain an important way to help prevent disease and unhealthy weights in children and families.
To read more about the details of this study, click here.