Some fast-food items contain chemicals linked to serious health problems, new report shows

Asia's Tech News Daily

Some fast-food items contain chemicals linked to serious health problems, new report shows

What's in that fast-food burger? Sometimes, harmful plastics.

A new study out Tuesday reports that far too often, small amounts of industrial chemicals called phthalates (pronounced THA-lates), which are used to make plastics soft, have been found in samples of food from popular outlets including McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Chipotle.

George Washington University researcher Lariah Edwards, professor Ami Zota and their colleagues purchased 64 fast-food items from national burger chains McDonald's and Burger King; pizza chains Pizza Hut and Domino's; and Tex-Mex chains Taco Bell and Chipotle, all around San Antonio, Texas.

The study found harmful chemicals in a majority of samples collected. Phthalates are linked to health problems, including disruption to the endocrine system, and fertility and reproductive problems, as well as increased risk for learning, attention and behavioral disorders in children.

All six restaurant chains did not respond to requests for comment.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the safety of food, has no legal thresholds limiting phthalate concentrations in food. The levels of phthalates found in the fast food that researchers tested were below the Environmental Protection Agency's health protective thresholds, Edwards said. Under current guidelines, the levels of phthalates researchers found would not have raised alarms at federal agencies.

The FDA said in a statement that it will review the George Washington study and consider it as part of the 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. “Where new information raises safety questions, the FDA may revoke food additive approvals, if the FDA is no longer able to conclude that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from the authorized use.”

Although some phthalates have been banned from toys and other products, they are frequently used to make such things as rubber gloves, industrial tubing or food conveyor belts pliable, and can migrate from those things into the foods we ingest.

All of the foods the GWU researchers tested contained one or more phthalates or other plasticizer chemicals, according to the study, which received funding from foundations that promote liberal or left-leaning policies.

Food items sold by fast-food chains are heavily processed, packaged and handled, providing more opportunities to come into contact with these phthalates and plasticizers. The researchers collected food-handling gloves from many of the restaurants, which also tested positive for these chemicals.

While identifying sources of the chemicals was not part of the study, the researchers hypothesized that the concentration of these chemicals was because phthalates and replacement plasticizers exist throughout the food supply chain, with food coming into contact with packaging and food-handling gloves, as well as processing equipment such as industrial tubing and conveyors, said Edwards, the lead author.

The researchers found more than 80 percent of the food samples contained a phthalate called DnBP, which has been linked to heightened risk for asthma, and 70 percent contained DEHP, which has been found to be linked to increased risk of reproductive problems.

Additionally, the team also found 86 percent of the foods contained a plasticizer called DEHT, which was developed to replace phthalates, according to Edwards. These alternative non-phthalate plasticizers' potential effects on human health and the environment are not yet well-studied.

The Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has strongly recommended that appropriate federal agencies study exposure to the phthalate alternatives and assess potential health risks, according to Patty Davis, the CPSC's press secretary. The FDA is charged with regulating food packaging and food processing equipment as “indirect food additives.”

In the George Washington University study, foods containing meats had higher levels of phthalates, with chicken burritos and cheeseburgers testing highest for DEHT (gloves collected from the same restaurants also contained this chemical). Cheese pizzas and fries had the lowest levels of most chemicals tested.

Previous research by Zota, a professor of environmental and occupational health at GWU's Milken School of Public Health, showed that people who often cook their own food at home have lower levels of these chemicals in their bodies, probably because home cooks do not use food handling gloves or as much plastic packaging.

She also previously tracked fast-food consumption in a national survey and found people who reported eating more fast foods had higher levels of phthalates.

The new report, published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, is among the first to examine the link between fast food and non-phthalate plasticizers such as DEHT that are increasingly being used in place of banned or restricted phthalates in food packaging and processing equipment.

The study results also raise concerns that people of color and low-income Americans may be disproportionately affected by these chemicals, according to Zota.

“Disadvantaged neighborhoods often have plenty of fast-food outlets but limited access to healthier foods like fruits and vegetables,” Zota said. “Additional research needs to be done to find out whether people living in such food deserts are at higher risk of exposure to these harmful chemicals.”

Edwards said the team selected restaurants that were ranked most popular in each category by market share data, testing multiple outposts for each chain and sampling their best-selling food items, ordering each item with standard toppings or fillings. Items were transported to the lab in a cooler in their original packaging, and then each menu item was blended into a slurry, the liquid tested for these chemicals via a technique called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Among the funders for the research were three liberal California-based foundations: the Passport Foundation, which funds environmental and left-leaning economic and social policy causes; the Forsythia Foundation, which funds research that aims to reduce harmful chemicals in the environment; and the Marisla Foundation, which supports health-service organizations and environmental causes.

Related Content

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Red Riding Hood review: Macabre panto lacks festive sweetness

© The Other Richard redridinghood Deep in the ravening, stench-laden belly of a wolf, Little Red Riding Hood and her friends are plotting their escape, which means evading glittery poos ... Read more »

This Guy Uses Melted Cheese To Seal His Burritos

Nothing hits the spot in the same way as a breakfast burrito, right? Especially one that’s jam-packed with eggs, tomatoes, chorizo and cheese. But if you’re anything like us, trying ... Read more »

Amaro: New cocktail bar helmed by Savoy's former head mixologist to open in Kensington

© Handout AmaroBar0612a A new bar helmed by the former head mixologist at the Savoy will open its doors in west London this week. Amaro, which arrives on Kensington High ... Read more »

This is the date you need to get your flu jab to be protected in time for Christmas

BRITS have been urged to come forward for flu jabs this year in order to tackle a 'challenging winter'. But if you've still not booked yours, experts have warned you ... Read more »

Omicron cases ‘five times HIGHER as super mutant set to become dominant within weeks', expert warns

CASES of Omicron are likely to be five times higher than those 246 confirmed, an expert has said. Professor Paul Hunter said there was current concern that Omicron “is spreading ... Read more »

Pandemic stress weighs heavily on Gen Z: AP-NORC, MTV poll

1 / 2AP Poll Generation Z PandemicFILE – Locks cover the fence on the Love Bridge in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh as a person walks by Nov. 3, 2021. ... Read more »

The 12 Best Electric Shavers for Women

If you’ve ever used a disposable razor, you know from experience these drugstore tools can only take you so far. In terms of delivering a silky-smooth finish, their quality and ... Read more »

Wendy's to open 5th UK restaurant this week and it's in London

Iconic US burger chain Wendy’s is opening its fifth UK restaurant this week – and it’s in East London. Due to open on December 8 in Romford, Wendy’s specialises in ... Read more »

Bake Off's Karen Wright shares her recipe for the perfect mince pies

© Provided by The Scotsman I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like mince pies! My Uncle David just cannot resist them, at a family party years ago he was found ... Read more »

Namibia detects Omicron coronavirus variant in 18 of 19 samples

FILE PHOTO: Picture illustration of vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels WINDHOEK (Reuters) – Namibia has detected the Omicron coronavirus variant in 18 of 19 samples ... Read more »

'Overwhelming' support: Strangers donate breast milk after mom of newborn dies of COVID-19

Strangers have been donating breast milk after a mother of a newborn died of complications from COVID-19. Megan Richards, a mom of six from Oak Grove, Missouri, had been providing ... Read more »

Man who was ‘bunged up' discovers a TOOTH growing in his nose

THE winter months mean many of us are suffering with cold and flu like symptoms. But one man, who had been suffering with the 'bunged up' feeling for several years ... Read more »

No deadlines, budget allocations to fix Charlotte Maxeke Hospital - Staff

© Provided by 702 The internal medicine staff at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital has written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa and other political leaders, pleading for a task team to ... Read more »

Holly Willoughby gobsmacked as James Martin spills secret to perfect mashed potato

Holly Willoughby was left gobsmacked during Monday’s This Morning when she realised what James Martin puts in his mash potato. The mum-of-three and her co-host Phillip Schofield invited the chef ... Read more »

Shefali Jariwala Went Missing After ‘Kaanta Laga', She Shares The Reason 20 Years Later

© Provided by iDiva Shefali Jariwala has never shied away from being vocal about subjects that most people don’t open up about. The actress, who’s been advocating for mental health ... Read more »

'I went to London Bridge's Christmas by the River market and it was better than Winter Wonderland'

Trying to find the best winter market in London is not an easy challenge, especially for someone who isn’t from the capital city. So far I had been let down ... Read more »

Amazon slash £20 off the popular Crockpot Turbo Express Pressure Multicooker

Hosting for the family this Christmas and want to make your lives a little easier on the big day? Well, Amazon has just the thing, and it’s on sale now. ... Read more »

Brits told ‘stay at home' if you're suffering telltale symptoms in fight against Omicron

BRITS have been encouraged to stay at home if they are feeling unwell as the Omicron variant gathers pace in the UK. Professor Tim Spector said people with cold-like symptoms ... Read more »

Oxford vaccine co-creator warns next pandemic could be even more deadly

“The truth is, the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both,” Professor Sarah Gilbert said. Read more »

Recipe of the week: Flor bakery's brown butter cakes

© Provided by The Week These have always been a firm favourite at Flor, says Helen Evans. Moist and treacly, they’re perfect as a bite with coffee, or as a ... Read more »

I'm a doctor and this is why women are always colder than men

AS the winter chill continues to grip Brits this week, many of us will be wearing extra layers. If you're a woman though, it's likely you'll want to wrap up ... Read more »

The symptoms of Omicron to watch for in your kids – amid fears of rising cases in young

OMICRON is already thought to be spreading among people in the UK in the lead up to Christmas. As scientists gather more data on the super strain, one worrisome sign ... Read more »

'Inedible' food, tears and 20-minute daily walks around a car park - the grim reality of hotel quarantine

‘Inedible’ food, tears and 20-minute daily walks around a car park – the grim reality of hotel quarantine Cold food, people crying and requesting a 20-minute daily walk around a ... Read more »

Italy tightens curbs on unvaccinated as COVID-19 cases rise

1 / 4Italy tightens curbs on unvaccinated as COVID-19 cases riseRome makes masks mandatory in crowded areas ROME (Reuters) – Italy tightened curbs on Monday on people still not vaccinated ... Read more »

MMCA, Incheon International Airport Corp. present artworks at airport

“Grandmother Tower #02” by Kang Seo-kyeong is on display at “Warming-up,” an art exhibition at Incheon Airport running through Jan. 5. (MMCA)The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea ... Read more »

'My daughter, 3, doesn't know what a lolly is - she's not missing out'

A mum-of-two has said she doesn’t ever let her toddler have sweets – and insists her daughter doesn’t even know what a lolly is. The mum, from Victoria in Australia, ... Read more »

Trapped in IKEA: snowstorm forces shoppers to spend the night in-store

‘Hasn’t it always been the dream to have IKEA all to yourself?’ That dream turned into a reality for six customers and two dozen employees who were forced to spend ... Read more »

Why modern line dancing is an ideal way for hijab-wearing Muslims to stay fit and age well, according to Malaysian mother of four

If you love dancing but your partner doesn’t, line dancing can be the perfect solution. “And if you’re a practising Muslim who is not supposed to get too close to ... Read more »

5 bone-building nutrients apart from calcium

We all know the importance of calcium for strong bones, a key part of human anatomy. But have you ever taken out the time to think if calcium alone can ... Read more »

Urgent warning to pregnant women to protect themselves and their unborn babies

PREGNANT women have been given an urgent message to protect themselves and their babies from Covid. In a new campaign, three mums have told of their life-threatening experiences getting the ... Read more »

Nepal detects first two cases of Omicron variant - health ministry

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination in Kathmandu By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU (Reuters) –Nepal has detected its first two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the health ministry said on Monday. ... Read more »

Oxford shooting probe, Chris Cuomo investigation, COVID-19 testing: 5 things to know Monday

Third party will probe Oxford, Michigan, school shooting An outside party will investigate events leading up to the deadliest school-related shooting in three years as questions continue to swirl throughout ... Read more »

Heartbreaking final text sent by fitness fanatic dad, 42, who died from Covid after refusing vaccine

A HEARTBROKEN sister has shared the last message her fitness fanatic brother sent her before dying from Covid after refusing the vaccine. John Eyers, 42, didn’t think that he needed ... Read more »

Ramaphosa hints at ‘further lockdown measures' to tackle Omicron spread

© Provided by The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has published his weekly letter to the nation, encouraging all citizens to get their COVID-19 vaccines immediately. The 69-year-old makes his ... Read more »

How to green up the festive season - but not sacrifice the fun!

© Provided by News Letter Going green © Provided by News Letter Green campaigner and consumer expert, Angela Terry, separates climate change facts from fiction and explains how you can ... Read more »

Ramaphosa to meet NCCC to have vaccine mandates matter concluded quickly

© Twitter/PresidencyZA FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa held the first virtual meeting with the national command council on COVID-19 to assess progress and challenges on the implementation of the nationwide lockdown. ... Read more »

Call for Covid-19 mandatory vaccines intensifies

© Provided by 702 The call for vaccine mandates is intensifying. In the last reporting cycle, South Africa recorded 11,125 new Covid-19 cases with Gauteng as the epicentre. President Cyril ... Read more »

Call for Covid-19 mandatory vaccines intensify

© Provided by 702 The call for vaccine mandates is intensifying. In the last reporting cycle, South Africa recorded 11,125 new Covid-19 cases with Gauteng as the epicentre. President Cyril ... Read more »

Olive oil nutritional facts, health benefits, types, and more

© Provided by Lifestyle Asia © Provided by Lifestyle Asia In recent years, olive oil has caused quite the buzz — and for good reason. The golden liquid is a ... Read more »

Thailand detects first case of Omicron variant

Thailand bans entry from 8 African countries over the coronavirus Omicron variant BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand has detected its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in a U.S. citizen ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic