Need another reason to avoid fast food? According to new research from the University of Toronto, the grease-proof paper wrappings used for fast food and microwave popcorn may also allow perfluoroalkyls — synthetic chemicals that repel oil, grease and water — to migrate from the wraps into your food. When you eat the food, these chemicals are released into your blood stream. PFOA and PFOS are the two most common perfluoroalkyl chemicals and are known contaminates in human blood worldwide.
What’s so bad about PFOAs?
Studies show that PFOAs and other perfluoroalkyls can cause changes in sex hormones and cholesterol. During studies of PFOAs, rats and mice who have been exposed to PFOAs have experienced both early death and delayed development and some rats even developed tumors due to long-term PFOA exposure. Because rats aren’t humans, scientists can’t say for sure if tumors may occur in humans as well, but still, it’s not good news if you’re feeding your family fast food. Even more unsettling, PFOAs have also been found in umbilical cord blood samples of newborn babies, showing that exposure even starts before birth.
As one of the study’s lead researchers, Scott Mabury, points out, this is an important study because many researchers and companies blame past chemical use for health problems, rather than chemicals that are currently in production. However, as this, and other studies show, we should be concerned with how chemicals are being used in newly manufactured products like food wrappers as well. Regulatory interest surrounding human exposure to perfluoroalkyl chemicals is growing quickly, and government parties in Canada, the USA and Europe have all expressed interest in long-term monitoring programs for these chemicals. Until legislature catches up with science, your family can avoid excess chemicals by steering clear of slick fast food wrappers, which honestly, isn’t that great of a loss considering the other health issues that come along with fast food consumption.