Pfas in bags for chips and other fast food foods (including McDonald's and Burger King), the new survey

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Elia Tabuenca García
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Pfas are everywhere and even food packaging, such as those in which fast food foods are wrapped and served, are not exempt from the problem. This was revealed by a new Consumer Reports survey

Don't store avocado like this: it's dangerous

In a new survey, conducted on over 100 products used as food packaging by restaurant and fast food chains in the US, Consumer Reports found a large presence of Pfas in most packaging.





In the United States they are known as “forever chemicals” for their persistence in the environment. We are talking about Pfas, potentially dangerous perfluoro alkyl substances and unfortunately almost omnipresent in products and objects that we often use. Today we can also add fat-resistant packaging or packaging in which foods in restaurants and fast food restaurants are served.

Read also: PFAS: what they are, why they are dangerous and we are finding them everywhere

Basically these are those cardboard bags for fries, wrappers for burgers or salad bowls and disposable paper plates with which the various dishes are served.

As we said, the Consumer Reports test analyzed over 100, all of the US market (but it is clear the probability that the problem is widespread globally).

More than half of the packages of the retailers examined, including those of the most famous fast food chains (Burger King and McDonald's) contained Pfas, while almost a third had levels that exceeded a limit set by the experts of Consumer Reports.

As stated in the US consumer magazine, 8 restaurants or fast food restaurants in the test had at least one type of food packaging that:

exceeded the limit of 100 ppm of total organic fluoride, a level that will not be allowed in California starting next year.

Almost a third of the 37 products then had organic fluoride levels above 20 ppm.

Identifying the exact type of Pfas contained in a product, Consumer Reports points out, is complex:

there are more than 9.000 known PFASs, but common testing methods can identify only a couple of dozen. Then CR tested the products for their total organic fluoride content, which is considered the easiest way to evaluate a material's total PFAS content. This is because all PFAS contain organic fluoride and there are few other sources of the compound.



Among other things, the Pfas were also in the packaging of fast food chains such as McDonald's which said it wanted to phase them out by 2025, as well as Burger King and Chick-fil-A, both companies publicly committed to reducing Pfas in their packs.

A study from last year accused manufacturers of intentionally treating fast food containers with Pfas. Read also: Fast food containers, including McDonald's, are "intentionally treated" with PFAS, the European complaint study

©Consumer Reports

The risks

But why all this attention to the Pfas? Recall that, in recent decades, exposure to Pfas has been linked to a growing list of health problems including:

  • suppression of the immune system
  • low birth weight
  • increased risk of some cancers

This obviously raises some alarm about the use of these compounds, especially in items such as food packaging. As Justin Boucher, environmental engineer at the Food Packaging Forum, a non-profit research organization based in Switzerland, said:

We know these substances migrate into the food you eat. It is a clear and direct exposure

Another concern is environmental, as packaging is thrown in the trash and can end up in the environment. If they contain Pfas, they contaminate the water and soil or spread in the air (in case the objects are then incinerated).

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Fonte: Consumer Reports

Read also:

  • Pfas also in sewage sludge-based household fertilizers, the study
  • Exposure to Pfas can weaken the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine. I study
  • Pfas, researchers have found them in unsuspecting products you use every day
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