Healthcare

‘Forever chemicals’ found in fast food wrappers

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An analysis by Consumer Reports was released Thursday of “forever chemicals” that were found in certain fast food wrappers from popular fast food chains.

PFAS are labeled as “forever chemicals” because the compounds are human-made chemicals that can not break down in the environment.

The analysis showed this class of chemical was found in excessive amounts in the wrappers for some products from Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Stop & Shop, Sweetgreen, Nathan’s Famous, Cava and Arby’s.

Nathan’s Famous saw the highest indicators of PFAS, 876 ppm (parts per million) for one bag of sides and 816 ppm for another bag of sides.

The report says Denmark only allows a 20 ppm limit for the chemical, with California aiming for less than 100 ppm limit by 2023. 

“We know from our testing that it is feasible for retailers to use packaging with very low PFAS levels,” Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at CR, said. “So the good news is there are steps that companies can take now to reduce their use of these dangerous chemicals.”

Consumer Reports says they tested 118 food products with multiple samples from over two dozen stores and fast food restaurants in Connecticut, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York and Texas.

The samples were collected between August and November of last year, with the group saying their findings do not represent all products from the establishments and businesses could have changed their packaging by the time the report came out. 

Other products that saw high amounts of PFAS were Arby’s bag for cookies, Cava’s tray for kids meals and McDonald’s bag for french fries.

The chemical is found to negatively affect a person’s immune system and response to diseases. 

The group recommends avoiding places known for high PFAS in their packaging, taking food out of packaging as soon as possible and not heating the food up in its original packaging.  

Tags McDonalds Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances PFAS

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