Chemicals found in fast food packaging could be harmful


Fast food isn't exactly the healthiest option out there.

And, turns out, even the containers and wrappers could be bad for you.

According to a new study, synthetic chemicals that have been associated with cancer and other serious health problems have been found in some fast food packaging.

These chemicals are known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs.

To find out how prevalent PFASs are in fast food packaging, researchers tested wrappers from 27 fast food companies, including McDonald's, Wendy's, Starbucks and Panera Bread.

SEE MORE: A Third Of US Kids Eat Fast Food On Any Given Day

They found that one-third of all samples tested contained detectable amounts of fluorine, which is a marker for PFASs. The packages that were most likely to contain fluorine were paper wrappers for desserts and sandwiches.

They're known for their ability to resist oil, water, heat and stains — which makes them a valuable ingredient for wrappers holding greasy, fast food items.

Related: Fast food from around the world

11 PHOTOS
Fast food from around the world
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Fast food from around the world
McDonald's Japan serves rice cheese balls! A crispy outside with a warm, gooey inside -- YUM.
McDonald's India features the McAloo wrap. Aloo is a type of potato curry and McDonald's put its own spin on it by wrapping a flour tortilla around an aloo patty garnished with lettuce, onions, vegetables, and sauce.
Pizza Hut Russia serves an Oktoberfest seasonal pizza with Bavarian sausage, pepperoni, vegetables, sauce, and mustard. You like?
At Burger King Argentina you can order a Churrasquito. It's grilled over hot coals and served with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
At select Wendy's locations in Australia, you can order a Brekky dog -- a breakfast style hot dog. GOOD MORNING to that!
Taco Bell Japan serves a shrimp and avocado burrito. This exclusive item has only been on the menu since April 2015!
Known as 'Maccas' in New Zealand, McDonald's menu there includes 3 savory pies. This one is the Mince 'N' Cheese pie stuffed with ground beef and cheese. 
At Pizza Hut in Saudi Arabia you can order a seafood pizza, including shrimp, calamari, crab, and vegetables on a thin crust.
McDonald's serves porridge in Thailand! 
You can order chili cheese nuggets from Burger King in Hungary. Bits of jalapeño peppers and a spicy kick.
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The problem is, some of those man-made chemicals have been linked to high cholesterol, low birth weight, cancer and other health risks.

And these chemicals are really hard to get rid of. They don't break down very easily in the environment, and they can build up in the human body.

One of the study's authors told The Washington Post, "We have more than one reason to try to eat more fresh food, and to reduce our consumption of fast food. This is another reason."

This particular study didn't determine whether PFASs found in packaging leached into the food. But previous research has shown the chemicals are more likely to make their way into your meal if it's hot and greasy.

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