Study Detects Harmful Industrial Chemicals In U.S. Fast Food

Nov, 2021 - By WMR

Study Detects Harmful Industrial Chemicals In U.S. Fast Food

A study found potentially harmful chemicals such as phthalates and other plasticizers in cheeseburgers, chicken burritos and other known fast foods.

A first ever study led by a group of scientists at George Washington University evaluated a number of fast food products and found high concentrations of some plasticizer chemicals such as phthalates known to disrupt the endocrine system, which are potentially harmful. Phthalates are frequently used for softening plastics and they have been used for more than 50 year in numerous consumer products from toys to food packaging.

There are many evidences that indicate the disruption of normal hormone functions leading health problems, including reproductive problems and heart issues due to these chemicals. According to recent study, exposure to phthalate caused 100,000 premature deaths in the U.S. Even with all the evidences regarding harmful effects of these chemicals, there was no strong investigation that measured levels of harmful chemicals in fast food. This new research studied 64 food items from well-known food brands covering three categories; hamburgers, Tex-Mex, and pizza. The scientists evaluated the presence of 11 different chemicals such as phthalates and new chemicals that are used for replacing phthalates in these food items and found traces of a phthalate known as DnBP in 81% of the food samples and in 70% of food samples presence of phthalate called DEHP was detected. As per the scientists, these two specific chemicals are related to metabolic, reproductive and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Moreover, a chemical known as DEHT was also detected with high concentration in 86% of the food samples. This chemical is used for replacement for phthalates in manufacturing. Furthermore, the scientists also studied samples of plastic gloves that are used in many fast food restaurants and found high levels of DEHT, which could also be a contributing factor to the chemical exposure. The study also suggests that the multiple stages of plastic packaging used by various fast food supply chains can also be a contributing factor to the high levels of chemical exposure in these food products.

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