As if there weren’t enough evidence to show how unhealthy fast food is, now there is a completely different reason to worry.

Who cares about obesity when cancer comes into play?

According to The Washington Post- Chemicals that have been associated with cancer and other health problems have been found in some fast-food packaging, according to a new study. Researchers found the substanceswhich can leach into food, in sandwich and dessert wrappers and paperboard containers.

“We have more than one reason to try to eat more fresh food, and to reduce our consumption of fast food,” said Laurel Schaider, one of the study’s authors, and a research scientist for the Silent Spring Institute. “This is another reason.”

The chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), are used in nonstick, stain-resistant and waterproof products. Fast-food packaging manufacturers might use them to keep sauces or grease from leaking through the wrapper. (Consumers are also exposed to them in other products, such as certain types of cookware, coats and carpets.) Some of the substances in this category are associated with kidney and testicular cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease and immunotoxicity in children, among other outcomes.

Schaider and her team tested wrappers from 27 fast-food companies, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Starbucks and Panera Bread. One-third of all samples tested contained detectable concentrations of flourine, a marker for PFASs. The food packages that were most likely to contain the fluorine were paper wrappers for desserts and sandwiches. Paper board — such as the stiff containers for french fries or pizza — also contained fluorine. Paper cups for beverages were in the clear, though.

Before you panic: “It’s really difficult to make that link between what we were finding in the packaging, and how that might affect someone’s health,” said Schaider. “PFASs are a complex category.”

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