A new study found PFAS, also known as 'forever chemicals' since they can "linger in water and air for thousands of years" are present in some packaging material at fast-food giants like McDonald's and Burger King.
The study also revealed that the toxic chemicals linked to cancer have been found in well-known salad chains' food packaging that includes Sweetgreen and Cava. These shocking findings were added in a study, which was released by environmental advocacy groups Ecology Center, the Mind the Store campaign, and Toxic-Free Future this week.
The Fast-Food Horror
As per the experts, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been linked to cancer, liver damage and other health issues. The new study has revealed that 38 food packaging samples across six food chains in the U.S. were tested, and almost half of them tested positive for fluorine levels that indicated the presence of the toxic chemicals in the packaging.
In most of the cases, people get exposed to the PFAS by consuming contaminated food or beverages. Shockingly, a report by The Intercept, PFAS can be found in the bloodstream of 99 percent of the U.S. residents.
The recent study said that fry bags at big fast-food joins McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's likely contained the cancer-causing PFAS. The findings also suggested that the bowls at Freshii, Cava, and Sweetgreen were found to likely contain the toxic chemicals. In a 2019 report by The Counter revealed that many of these "compostable" bowls used by fast-casual chains contain PFAS.
End the Use of PFAS
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the organization had reached a voluntary agreement with a few major producers of food packaging to end the use of toxic chemicals.
FDA said in a statement that "this action follows new analyses of data that raised questions about potential human health risks from chronic dietary exposure – findings that warrant further study."
The statement also added that this phase-out balances the uncertainty about the possibility of public health risks "with minimizing potential market disruptions to food packaging supply chains" during the Coronavirus public health emergency.
As per CNN, Cava, Sweetgreen, and Freshii have already announced their plans to eliminate PFAS from food packaging in the coming months. Even McDonald's also said that it is taking action, and noted that "the safety and well-being of our communities is our top priority."