Read the full report by Joe Fassler (The Counter)
“Testing by a pair of environmental nonprofits found that several forms of packaging at McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s had been treated with chemicals that increasingly concern public health experts.
It’s been one year since an investigation from The Counter revealed that molded fiber bowls—the ‘compostable,’ seemingly earth-friendly containers popular at fast-casual restaurants—contain PFAS, a class of potentially toxic ‘forever chemicals.’ But a new report published Thursday by the anti-pollution nonprofits Mind the Store and Toxic-Free Future suggests even more widespread PFAS use in fast-food industry packaging, with significant levels turning up in a range of items from Big Mac boxes to fry bags.
PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluorylalkyl substances, might be a confusing, cryptic -sounding acronym, but the term has become increasingly familiar to the American public as environmental advocates, federal legislators, and even Hollywood movie producers start to sound the alarm about their potential dangers. As I explained at greater length in The Counter’s investigation, the term refers to a broad class of fluorinated chemicals with a range of industrial uses, from waterproof apparel to firefighting foam and period-proof underwear.
Due to their tightly bound molecular structure, PFAS compounds tend to be excellent water and grease resisters—which makes them especially appealing to producers of food packaging. But these potentially toxic compounds come with one significant drawback: Many don’t break down naturally in the environment, even over the course of hundreds of years.
That’s a problem, because numerous individual PFAS compounds have been linked to a range of serious health effects, from thyroid disruption to cancer.
While it’s not news that PFAS is widespread in the take-out food business, the new report is apparently the first to look at a broader range of specific fast food burger chains…”