Industrial plastics found in some fast food, researchers say

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Industrial plastics found in some fast food, researchers say
© Thinkstock Industrial plastics found in some fast food, researchers say

A new study found small amounts of chemicals known as phthalates in food samples from fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Chipotle, reports the Washington Post.

Researchers from George Washington University purchased 64 fast food items in San Antonio, Texas from national chains reports the Post. Their study, published Tuesday, identified chemicals in a majority of the samples they collected.

Phthalates have been linked to health problems in some studies, such as endocrine system issues, fertility issues, and a potential increase for learning, attention, and behavioral disorders in children.

Phthalates are used to make plastics soft and, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people can be exposed to them through food and drinks, breathing particles or when children crawl around in dust or dirt and put their hands in the mouths.

These chemicals, according to the CDC, have affected some animals’ reproductive systems, however, human health effects from exposures to a low amount of phthalates is not as clear.

According to the Post, the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food safety, has no legal parameters for phthalate concentrations in food. However, the Post notes that the FDA put out a statement that it will be reviewing the George Washington study as part of a body of scientific evidence.

“Although the FDA has high safety standards, as new scientific information becomes available, we reevaluate our safety assessments,” said an FDA spokesperson to the Washington Post.

The Hill reached out for comment from the six restaurants in the study, which also included Burger King, Domino’s and Taco Bell.

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