Excerpt: Chemicals that have been associated with cancer and other health problems have been found in some fast-food packaging, according to a new study. Researchers found the substances, which can leach into food, in sandwich and dessert wrappers and paperboard containers.
“We have more than one reason to try to eat more fresh food, and to reduce our consumption of fast food,” said Laurel Schaider, one of the study’s authors, and a research scientist for the Silent Spring Institute. “This is another reason.”
The chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), are used in nonstick, stain-resistant and waterproof products. Fast-food packaging manufacturers might use them to keep sauces or grease from leaking through the wrapper. (Consumers are also exposed to them in other products, such as certain types of cookware, coats and carpets.) Some of the substances in this category are associated with kidney and testicular cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease and immunotoxicity in children, among other outcomes.