While it is no secret that fast food items continue to bloat the American belly, perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) found in fast food wrappers appear to further exacerbate the drastically declining health status of the general population. PFCs are the same chemicals used to line nonstick cookware, flame retardants and stain-resistant products.
Previous research revealed that PFCs found in such packaging may actually migrate into the food itself, which when consumed, can accumulate in the body. A recent study found modest amounts of PFCs in 56 percent of dessert and bread wrappers, 20 percent of paperboard products – such as those the hold french fries or other fried foods – and 38 percent of sandwich and burger wrappers. Researchers also found this compound in 57 percent of Tex-Mex food wrappers and 16 percent of beverage containers.
In 2011, some food packaging manufacturers in the United States began voluntarily pulling the use of these PFCs from their products due to health concerns. Findings from one study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, made it evident, however, that even though these harmful chemicals are being phased out by some manufacturers due to their potential health risks, other manufacturers are choosing to continue their use.
“This study reinforces the reality that these chemicals are highly persistent in the environment, and may find their ways into people’s bodies for years after they are no longer intentionally added," noted outside expert Dr. Leonardo Trasande. He continued, "This study adds to concerns about chemicals that contaminate highly processed or packaged foods, potentially magnifying health effects above and beyond the effects that may result from their high-fat or high-sugar content.”
Various clinical studies have identified a strong correlation between PFCs and adverse health concerns.
PFCs found in fast food packaging may play a role in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. A Canadian study in the journal Environmental Research revealed a correlation between PFC exposure and elevated cholesterol levels in adults. Another diabetes study revealed a significant correlation between high PFC exposure and impaired glucose homeostasis, as well as greater prevalence of the disease. High PFC exposure was also tied to the development of ulcerative colitis.
A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed that children, especially boys, with higher prenatal PFC exposure were at increased risk of congenital cerebral palsy.
A case-control study of Inuit women revealed that pregnant women who were at the highest quintile of PFC exposure showed a significantly increased risk of suffering premenopausal breast cancer. The findings were published in the journal Environmental Health.
Various other studies have also associated PFCs in fast food packaging with a host of adverse conditions including low birth weight, thyroid disease and kidney and testicular cancers.
The production of various commercial and industrial products using perfluorinated compounds has been heavily scrutinized for years due to its potential environmental impact.
A 2015 study published in Environmental Research examined how PFC prevalence affects the food chain balance in the Arctic region. Researchers found that exposure to this toxic compound might have a significant impact on the behavior, hormonal balance and survival capacity of polar bears in the region.
"The amount of these compounds has been increasing in the Arctic in recent years. We should therefore also be aware of the effects they have on the environment and the people who live there," study lead author Kathrine Eggers Pedersen stated.
Another study revealed a correlation between PFC exposure and consumption of fish from U.S. urban rivers and great lakes. Fillet samples from fish showed a significant occurrence of PFCs within certain bodies of water in the U.S.
Find out more about the dangers associated with fast food and perfluorinated compounds by visiting FastFood.news.