It’s Not Your Cardboard Fast Food That Might Kill You; It’s the Paper WrappingBy now, the dangers of fast food should carry little surprise. Pink slime, mechanically separated meat, meals that pack in twice the daily recommended value of calories or salt, high levels of MSG and enough cholesterol to kill three horses have all made headlines in the last decade. While education goes a long way, sometimes grabbing an extra thick milkshake and some fries is just irresistible. Unfortunately, there’s one more way those cheat days might be dangerous; toxic paper.

Numbers don’t lie

From the Huffington Post, “The recent testing of 400 food and beverage containers from 27 fast food chains across the country identified detectable levels of fluorine ― which scientists say is a likely indicator of PFASs or PFCs ― in about 40 percent of the samples, according to a paper published Wednesday in the Environmental Science & Technology Letters journal. (Fluorine is used in food packaging to resist unsightly grease stains.)”

For the uninitiated, PFASs and PFCs refer to polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances and perfluorinated chemicals, respectively. These compounds are made from the base chemical fluorine, which in low doses helps fight cavities. In higher concentrations, fluorine helps to etch glass, and has been linked to serious problems in humans. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, these substances may:

  • Affect the developing fetus and child, including possible changes in growth, learning, and behavior
  • Decrease fertility and interfere with the body’s natural hormones
  • Increase cholesterol
  • Affect the immune system
  • Increase cancer risk

Don’t forget that the greasier the food item, the more fluorine is required to resist staining. Higher levels of chemicals in food wrappers virtually guarantee higher levels of chemicals in the food they’re wrapping, and previous research has found that hotter, greasier foods are more likely to absorb chemicals. The faster the food, the more likely it is to contain dangerous levels of fluorine (among other toxins).

Unfortunately, avoiding fluorine isn’t as easy as avoiding fast food. From the Royal Society of Chemistry, “In fact, fluorine is used in many fluorochemicals, including solvents and high-temperature plastics, such as Teflon (poly(tetrafluoroethene), PTFE). Teflon is well known for its non-stick properties and is used in frying pans. It is also used for cable insulation, for plumber’s tape and as the basis of Gore-Tex® (used in waterproof shoes and clothing).”

At the moment, there may be no way to avoid fluorine altogether, though you can limit your exposure by avoiding certain products. Sometimes, however, manufacturing defects or other circumstances result in excessive exposures that can cause serious injury or illness. If your illness or injury is the result of a defective or contaminated product, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. The experienced South Carolina defective product attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call 888-302-7546 or contact us today for a free consultation.