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‘Forever chemicals’ found in packaging at fast food chains

Knoxville WVLT-TV logo Knoxville WVLT-TV 9/15/2020 Lauren Meyers
a close up of a sandwich and fries: Photo Credit: Joey / CC BY 2.0 / MGN © Provided by Knoxville WVLT-TV Photo Credit: Joey / CC BY 2.0 / MGN

(WVLT/WTVF) - A new study took a look at popular fast food chains and found potentially hazardous chemicals in packaging of burgers, fries and salads, CBS affiliate WTVF reported.

Emily Bishop of Washington D.C., runs to restaurants like Sweetgreen or CAVA to pick up a quick lunch before heading back to the office.

“I know that it’s healthy. There’s going to be good ingredients that are good for me,” said Bishop.

WTVF reported, new testing from Toxic-Free Future found that every single molded fiber bowl or tray tested from CAVA, Sweetgreen and other chains contained some of the highest levels of fluorine found in the report.

The packaging was most likely treated with PFAS.

“PFAS, per-and polyfluoroakly substances are used to make food packaging grease and water resistant. They’re often referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ because they’re nearly indestructible,” said Consumer Reports Health editor Kevin Loria.

Many harmful health effects include decreased fertility, weakened immune system response and increased risk for certain cancers.

“CAVA says it will eliminate PFAS in food packaging by mid-2021. Freshii plans to roll out PFAS-free bowls in early 2021, if not sooner. And Sweetgreen plans to be PFAS-free by the end of this year,” said Loria.

McDonald’s Big Mac and the wrapper for Burger King’s Whopper are also to be found treated with PFAS. Other packaging found to contain fluorine include a french fry bag from McDonald’s, a chicken nuggets bag from Burger King and cookie bags from Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

McDonald’s said it had eliminated significant classes of PFAS. “We know there is more progress to be made across the industry, and we are exploring opportunities with our supplier partners to go further,” said the fast-food chain.

PFAS are also used in non-stick pans, waterproofing gear and firefighting foam. They’re also used to make carpets and fabrics stain and water resistant. But consumer groups say the manufacturing, use of and disposal of these products, along with food packaging could be exposing us all both directly and indirectly.

Copyright 2020 WVLT via WTVF. All rights reserved.

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