According to a new study, fast food is not only high in cholesterol, calories, and carbs. Burgers, pizza, and burritos can also be contaminated with toxic ‘forever chemicals’.
Researchers at George Washington University ordered dozens from McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Pizza Hut.
Their analysis revealed that phthalates were found in more than 80 percent of the samples. These phthalates are used to make plastic flexible.
Phthalates are also known as plasticizers, and are used in hundreds of products, from vinyl flooring and plastic packaging to soaps and shampoos.
In addition, they have been linked to numerous health problems, including cancer, liver damage, infertility, thyroid disease, asthma and even smaller testicles, as well as learning disabilities, behavioral issues and attention-deficit disorders in children.
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Researchers at George Washington University compared menu items from McDonald’s and Burger King to determine if they contained phtalates. These are so-called ‘forever chemical’ that are used in hundreds of household products.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can be exposed to Phthalates by eating foods and beverages that contain phthalates, or by inhaling phthalate particles directly in the air.
Exposure poses a risk to children, according to the health agency. Children crawl around touching objects and then put them in their mouths.
The researchers chose the restaurants and menu items — hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, chicken burritos and cheese pizza — based on market share and best-selling items.
According to their findings published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, meat products had higher levels of phthalates than items made with cheese. Cheese pizza and French fries had the lowest.
The researchers found that 81 percent of the tested items contained DnBP, a phthalate linked to increased asthma risk, and 70% contained DEHP, a phthalate linked to decreased fertility and other reproductive problems.
The 81 percent of the food they ordered contained DnBP, a phthalate linked to an increased risk for asthma. And 70% contained DEHP, a phthalate linked to decreased fertility and other reproductive problems.
As concerns about phthalates grow, alternative plasticizers are being created. The scientists discovered DEHT, a substitute for phthalates, in 86 per cent of junk food.
Researchers said that the full health effects of these alternative plasticizers are still unknown.
Researchers found that the burgers, McNuggets, milkshakes, and McNuggets could have come in contact with phthalates, replacement plasticizers, at any stage of the food-supply chain. These could have included processing equipment, packaging equipment, and the plastic gloves worn on employees’ hands.
According to the study, meat products had higher levels than items made from cheese, while cheese pizza and french fries had the lowest.
Pictured: The molecular model and chemical formula for a phthalate. Certain phthalates have been linked with cancer, liver damage and thyroid disease.
Ami Zota (GWU professor of environmental health) said that the study raises concerns about low-income Americans and people with skin color being disproportionately exposed.
According to Zota, “Disadvantaged areas often have a lot of fast-food outlets, but limited access for healthier foods like fruits and veggies.” Zota said to The Washington Post. Additional research is needed to determine if people who live in such food deserts are more at risk of being exposed to these harmful chemicals.
A 2019 CDC study found that non-Latino Africans were more likely than whites to be exposed in some phthalates or phthalate alternatives.
It also showed that adult women registered higher levels than men of plasticizers used to make soaps, shampoos and other personal care products.
According to the Post the FDA doesn’t set limits for phthalates within food. However, the levels detected in the 64 fast-food products purchased from franchises in San Antonio (Texas) were all below the EPA’s current acceptable thresholds.
The FDA informed the Post that it would still review the George Washington study to determine its findings.
A spokesperson for the FDA stated that while the FDA has high safety standards and new scientific information is available, they reevaluate their safety assessments.
“Where new information raises safety concerns, the FDA can revoke food additive approvals. If the FDA is not able to conclude that there is a reasonable probability of no harm from the approved use,
The EPA said it was moving to regulate certain forever chemicals — known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS — in US drinking water after they have repeatedly appeared in water reservoirs across the country
Last week, the EPA said it was moving to regulate certain forever chemicals — known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS — in U.S. drinking water after they have repeatedly appeared in water supplies across the country.
The agency stated that it would also classify some as hazardous chemicals.
PFAs are used to make cookware, rainwear, carpet and other items water- and stain-resistant, but have also been tied to health issues, including higher cholesterol, an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer, and damage to the immune system, as well as birth defects, smaller birth weights, and decreased vaccine response in children.
Michael S. Regan, EPA Administrator, said that the agency was moving forward to regulate PFAS forever chemicals. These chemicals are used to make items water-resistant and stain-resistant but also have higher cholesterol, increased risk of testicular and kidney cancers, and damage to your immune system.
‘For far too long, families across America – especially those in underserved communities – have suffered from PFAS in their water, their air, or in the land their children play on,’ EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement.
“This comprehensive, national PFAS Strategy will deliver protections for people who are hurting, by advancing bold actions that address the entire lifecycle of these chemicals. There is no doubt that the EPA is listening and will take action to protect people from pollution and hold polluters accountable.