If you are looking for some hard hitting facts to get convinced, here's one. Accordingly to a new study, foods like pizzas, French fries and burgers that come packed in greaseproof paper may lead to developmental problems in children, decreased fertility and an increased risk of cancer. The findings showed that food packaging contains more than two dozen toxic highly fluorinated chemicals, including a phased-out substance called PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), also known as PFCs, that come mostly from older, recycled materials or other undetermined sources.
So What Are Fluorinated Compounds?
Long term consumption of these toxins can affect the immune system, hampering various functions of the body. "Exposure to some PFASs has also been associated with cancer, thyroid disease, immune suppression, low birth weight, and decreased fertility," added Schaider.
For the study, appearing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the team applied a novel technique using particle-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE) spectroscopy to analyse the samples for fluorine - a marker of PFASs. The results showed that almost half of paper wrappers (e.g., burger wrappers and pastry bags) and 20 per cent of paperboard samples (e.g., boxes for fries and pizza) contained fluorine. Tex-Mex food packaging and dessert and bread wrappers, in particular, were most likely to contain fluorine compared with other categories of packaging.
What's Most Toxic?
To sum it up, these were the percentages of fluorinated compounds in the respective packaging:
Dessert and bread wrappers: 56%
Sandwich and burger wrappers: 38%
Paper cups: Nil
Apart from food packaging, the chemical is also used in an array of non-stick, stain-resistant cookware - and in waterproof products, including carpeting, outdoor apparel.
So next time you order for some fast food, insist to the servers that they are served without any greaseproof papers. That could at least be a start!Inputs from IANS