Boxes and wrappers your fast food comes in could be bad for you

Chemicals used to repel grease may leach into your food.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

If you're looking for another reason to avoid fast food, this could be it.

Fast food has been criticized for being bad for your health, but now a new study published Wednesday says the grease-proof packaging the food comes in could be bad for you, too.

That's because those containers may have potentially harmful chemicals used to repel all that grease. And those chemicals can leach into the hot and greasy food you're eating, a news release says.

Researchers found those highly fluorinated chemicals (also known as PFASs) are in a lot of fast food packages. They tested packages from 27 fast food chains, including McDonald's, Wendy's, Starbucks and Panera Bread, finding fluorine was used in one-third of them.

Here's how it breaks down:

These chemicals can be bad because it takes them a long time to break down in the environment – and in people's bodies. That can cause some major health problems like cancer, thyroid disease, immune suppression, low birth weight and decreased fertility, the release says.

But don't freak out just yet

How much of the chemical leaches into your food depends on a lot of things, like the specific chemical that's used in the package, how hot the food is, the type of food it is, and how long the food was in the wrapper, CNN explains.

“It’s really difficult to make that link between what we were finding in the packaging, and how that might affect someone’s health,” Laurel Schaider, the study's lead author, told the Washington Post. “PFASs are a complex category.”

It's worth noting that many companies have voluntarily removed fluorine chemicals like long-chain PFASs from food packaging, but shorter chains are still allowed. Researchers say those haven't really been tested yet.

Also, these chemicals aren't just in fast food packaging. They're also in things like non-stick cookware, outdoor gear and furniture.

To read the entire report, click here.

Next Up

695 grand avenue

St. Paul planners gives OK to 5-story development at Dixie's on Grand

The property would include four commercial spaces, but not Dixie's on Grand.

Screen Shot 2021-07-23 at 12.22.13 PM

Family identifies man who died at Menards in Golden Valley

Three people were "temporarily detained" at the Menards on Thursday, police say.

hovland 1

Gallery: Home near the Boundary Waters on the market for $1.1 million

The home's wall of windows affords views of McFarland Lake and the wilderness.

Pixabay - firefighter helmet

Firefighters find body in rubble after Princeton home explosion

Two others were also injured by the blast and fire Thursday.

Flickr - campfire

No campfires allowed in BWCAW or Superior National Forest

The campfire ban applies to all campsites in the forest, including those in the BWCAW.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, July 23

The newest data from the Minnesota Department of Health.

medina portapotty

Police: Illegal fireworks wipe out portable toilet in Medina

Officials are seeking the public's help in identifying those involved.

Related

Boxes and wrappers your fast food comes in could be bad for you

Chemicals used to repel grease may leach into your food.

Study: Here are the foods that are killing us, and the ones that could save us

Read this before opening another bag of chips, or ordering your second burger of the week.

Study: Here are the foods that are killing us, and the ones that could save us

Read this before opening another bag of chips, or ordering your second burger of the week.

Coming soon to the Mall of America: Vegan fast food

It looks like your typical fast food – but it's all plant-based.

Boxed mac and cheese contains potentially harmful chemicals, study finds

Out of 30 cheese products tested, 29 contained phthalates.

Boxed mac and cheese contains potentially harmful chemicals, study finds

Out of 30 cheese products tested, 29 contained phthalates.