Chemicals in fast food wrappers to keep grease from leaking through are now being found to leech into food, and even showing up in blood samples. According to new research from the University of Toronto, these chemicals used in cardboard packaging and carpet treatment may be ingested daily by countless people worldwide.
These synthetic chemicals, known as polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters, or PAPs, are primarily used to contain grease, oil, and water within fast food packaging. Previous research conducted by University of Toronto in 2007 found that the wrappers were a source of the toxic chemicals in human blood, but their new research is what shows how perfluorinated chemicals can actually migrate from wrappers into food – very similar to how BPA leaches into plastic water bottles.
These chemicals in fast food wrappers have been linked to hormonal imbalances and a host of other diseases. The use of these chemicals are causing consumers to be exposed to perfluorinated carboxylic acids, or PFCAs, and perflurooctanoic acid, or PFOA – a toxin also heavily ingested by non-stick cookware use.
“In this study we clearly demonstrate that the current use of PAPs in food contact applications does result in human exposure to PFCAs, including PFOA…We found the concentrations of PFOA from PAP metabolism to be significant and concluded that the metabolism of PAPs could be a major source of human exposure to PFOA, as well as other PFCAs,” said Mabury, the lead researcher and a professor in the university’s Department of Chemistry.
For the study, researchers exposed rats to PAPs orally or by injection, and observed the rats for 3 weeks to record the concentrations of the PAPs and PFCA in their blood. Rats who ingested some of these chemicals over extended periods of time developed tumors, leading researchers to believe that many of them may be carcinogenic.
Since so many individuals consume fast food on a daily or weekly basis, this is concerning news. Unfortunately, these chemicals in fast food wrappers make up only one of the countless reasons to avoid fast food at all costs.