NEW YORK — The risky chemicals that keep cooking grease from leaking out of fast-food containers are widespread, according to a peer-reviewed study released on Wednesday (Feb 1).
Researchers said they detected fluorine in nearly half the 400 container samples from 27 fast-food chains, including the four largest in the US, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Yum! Brands. That’s an indication that potentially dangerous chemicals, called PFAS, were present in wrappers for popular items like burgers, burritos and pastries, the authors said.
“We have things we do know are not problematic,” such as wax paper, said Ms Linda Birnbaum, director of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. “Why not use them?” Ms Birnbaum said that the industry adopted new non-stick and grease-proof coatings before gathering enough facts, and that the data on health risks are limited.
Six ailments, including testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis and high cholesterol, have been linked to the older generation of compounds, and the study says there isn’t enough evidence that the new generation doesn’t have similar risks.