Fast food from these chains is ‘packaged in pollution,’ report says. Does it matter?

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Next time you order a Big Mac, Whopper or Sweetgreen salad, think about this: The wrappers and containers your food comes in have been discovered to include poisonous chemical substances that may contaminate your ingesting water, hurt wildlife and make you sick.

PFAS are chemical substances used in attire, carpeting, furnishings and packaging designed to maintain supplies grease- and waterproof; they’re generally known as “forever chemicals” as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances can’t break down in the surroundings.

A report launched final week on the quick food business revealed that almost half of all sampled packaging contained harmful fluorine ranges, whereas the vast majority of the places included would not have insurance policies to handle dangerous PFAS in their supplies.

The researchers say their examine emphasizes the necessity to replace the way in which the federal government regulates PFAS due to their “high persistence, potential for accumulation and hazards,” a few of that are extra poisonous than well being businesses have acknowledged.

Restaurants discovered to have poisonous packaging embrace Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Cava, Freshii and Sweetgreen—the highest three burger and health-conscious chains.

“Multiple major food chains have now announced new policies on PFAS. So, clearly, safer alternatives exist and are being used. Those that haven’t stepped up have the ability to do so,” Mike Schade, director of Mind the Store, the marketing campaign behind the examine, along with Toxic-Free Future, mentioned in a information launch.

“As the largest fast-food chain in the world, McDonald’s has a responsibility to its customers to keep them safe. These dangerous chemicals don’t belong in its food packaging. I, for one, am NOT ‘lovin’ it.'”

The researchers examined 38 food packaging samples collected in January at 16 places and 6 fast-food chains in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Seattle, in response to the report.

At least one merchandise from each burger chain studied, together with wrappers for Burger King’s Whopper and cardboard containers for McDonald’s’ Big Mac, “tested above the screening level for fluorine,” whereas the paper baggage carrying nuggets, cookies and fries additionally contained excessive ranges of the chemical.

Customers buying extra wholesome meals from Cava, Freshii and Sweetgreen are literally receiving extra dangerous packaging, the report revealed. Every “molded fiber container” served at these eating places confirmed the best ranges of fluorine of all gadgets examined in the examine.

While these fiber packages are praised for his or her compostability, their excessive chemical content material strips them of the title. The nation’s two compostability certification organizations—Biodegradable Products Institute and Compost Manufacturing Alliance—say they can not label gadgets as compostable in the event that they embrace PFAS or greater than 100 ppm of fluorine, in response to the report.

The researchers discovered 14 food packaging gadgets with fluorine ranges over 100 ppm, “even though some chains treat them as compostable,” the workforce mentioned.

The U.S. Food and Drug administration introduced in July that producers of food-contact supplies with PFAS have agreed to section out the sale of these merchandise, nonetheless; the usage of different PFAS is nonetheless allowed.

And though Congress launched the “Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act” final 12 months, it stays to be handed. The invoice provides the FDA till 2022 to implement it.

Meanwhile, eating places like Panera Bread, Taco Bell, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and Sweetgreen have introduced plans to scale back or remove PFAS in their supplies, the report mentioned.

Washington was the primary to cross a state measure in 2018 created to restrict PFAS in paper food packaging; Maine handed their very own restrictions in 2019, and bans in San Francisco and Berkeley went into impact this 12 months.

Exposure to sure PFAS has been tied to kidney and testicular most cancers, thyroid illness, hormone disruption, decreased fertility, decrease delivery weights, elevated ldl cholesterol and adjustments in nervous system growth, in response to the report.

Contact with these chemical substances, aside from food packaging, occur after they leak into soils and ingesting water from industrial sources. They can even invade family mud and air when shopper merchandise containing these chemical substances are used.

The researchers mentioned hundreds of thousands of Americans are “drinking PFAS-contaminated water and nearly 100% are carrying a body burden of PFAS.” One examine discovered that consuming microwave popcorn was related to larger concentrations of the chemical substances in folks’s blood.

What’s extra, publicity to PFAS is additionally tied to a decreased antibody response to vaccines, in addition to different continual circumstances that have an effect on the immune system. This, the researchers say, raises considerations in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whether the chains are serving burgers, fries, or salad, they owe it to their customers to serve it up in safe packaging,” examine co-author Erika Schreder, science director at Toxic-Free Future, mentioned in the discharge. “We found many instances of packaging that’s PFAS-free—there’s no reason for these chains to choose any food that contains (them).”


Compostable food containers could release PFAS into environment


©2020 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Citation:
Fast food from these chains is ‘packaged in air pollution,’ report says. Does it matter? (2020, August 11)
retrieved 11 August 2020
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