Even The Packaging Of Fast Food May Damage Health, Study Says

Admin | Published 2017-02-02 04:47
A recent study suggests that not only that the food itself from fast food chains can affect health, but as well its packaging. A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters says, the greaseproof packaging of these unhealthy chomps may contain potentially harmful fluorinated chemicals that can leach into food. For the study, researchers tested more than 400 samples from 27 fast food chains throughout the United States. They examined paper wrappers, paperboard, and drink containers to see if they contained a class of chemicals called PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), or PFCs.

(c) TreeHugger

"These chemicals have been linked with numerous health problems, so it's concerning that people are potentially exposed to them in food," Laurel Schaider, an environmental chemist at Silent Spring Institute and the study's lead author told Medical Xpress. Exposure to PFASs has been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, immune suppression, low birth weight, and decreased fertility. "Children are especially at risk for health effects because their developing bodies are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals," says Schaider. Using a technique involving a particle-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE) spectroscopy, researchers were able to analyze the samples for fluorine—a marker of PFASs. They learned that almost half of paper wrappers, and 20 percent of paperboard samples contained fluorine. Though major U.S. manufacturers have replaced the old packagings with the ones with shorter-chain PFAS compounds, those materials are still equally toxic to human health, experts say. "The replacement compounds are equally persistent and have not been shown to be safe for human health," says co-author Arlene Blum, founder of the Green Science Policy Institute in a statement. "That's why we need to reduce the use of the entire class of highly fluorinated compounds. The good news is there are non-fluorinated alternatives available."
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