It’s not just what’s on the inside, but what’s on the outside that counts, when it comes to health risks.

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Potentially Harmful Chemicals Found in One-Third of Fast Food Wrappers

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A study from the Silent Spring Institute found fluorinated compounds in packaging that can leak into your food
It’s not just what’s on the inside, but what’s on the outside that counts, when it comes to health risks.

Shutterstock

It’s not just what’s on the inside, but what’s on the outside that counts, when it comes to health risks.

Fast food may be the popular scapegoat for the rise in obesity across America, but did you know that even the packaging your burger comes in could pose as a risk? A new study from the Silent Spring Institute — an organization that establishes links between cancer and environmental causes — has shown that potentially harmful chemicals known as fluorinated compounds (PFASs) are found in one-third of fast-food wrappers.

The chemicals are used as grease-resistant agents and are described as “highly persistent synthetic chemicals, which have been associated with cancer.” Exposure to the chemicals is particularly associated with a rise in testicular and kidney cancer. These chemicals are also used, "to give water-repellant, stain-resistant, and non-stick properties to consumer products such as furniture, carpets, outdoor gear, clothing, cosmetics (and) cookware.” In other words, PFASs are everywhere.

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Scientists researched wrappers from Grand Rapids, Mich., Washington, D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston over the course of two years. In their findings, approximately 56 percent of dessert and bread wrappers contain these carcinogenic chemicals, while 38 percent of burger and sandwich wrappers are at risk, and 20 percent of paperboard containers as well (think French fry holders).