The end is nearer for ‘chemicals forever’ in food packaging

If other PFAS have not been as well studied, it is not the same as giving them the green light. FDA scientists who industry data analysis of 6: 2 FTOH and its metabolites have reported evidence of immune effects in rodents. This summer, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which is part of the CDC, released a “statement on the potential intersection between PFAS and Covid-19. The agency noted that “little is known” about how exposure to PFAS might affect the risk of Covid-19 infection and that research is needed. “The CDC / ATSDR recognizes that exposure to high levels of PFAS can impact the immune system. There is evidence from human and animal studies that exposure to PFAS may reduce antibody responses to vaccines and may reduce resistance to infectious diseases, ”the statement said.

That’s an important research question, says Birnbaum, who notes that scientists who measured PFASs in groups of people in environmental health studies could track them during the pandemic and compare them to a lesser cohort. exposed. “We know that some PFAS suppress the immune system in humans,” she says.

Meanwhile, some political pressure is building to accelerate the removal of PFAS from food packaging. Last month the New York State Legislature Passed PFAS Ban in food packaging, assembly Washington State, Maine, and the cities of San Francisco and Berkeley, which impose similar restrictions. Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Taco Bell are among the companies that have already made a commitment to avoid purchasing food packaging containing PFAS.

And on Thursday, those efforts were spurred by the Mind the Store advocacy campaign and environmental health nonprofit Toxic-Free Future, which seek to influence retailers, policymakers and public opinion on issues of chemical safety. The liberated groups an online report showing that PFAS are found in certain food packaging supplied by well-known chains. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed or published in a journal, is part of a larger campaign by advocates to push for a ban of these chemicals in food packaging.

Inspired in part by the Silent Spring Institute’s study of fast food containers, advocacy group staff requested unused packaging from the three major fast food chains and the three healthy food chains, out of a total of 16 locations in New York, Maryland, Seattle and Washington, DC. They collected 38 samples, including duplicates, so that they could compare the same packages from different geographic areas and ensure that the results for packages from the same locations were consistent.

They placed the packages in sealed plastic bags and then delivered them to Galbraith Laboratories in Knoxville, Tennessee, an independent lab that performed tests on them to determine their fluorine content. (Because PFAS are fluorinated compounds, the detection of fluorine is an indicator of their presence.) The lab used a test threshold of 100 parts per million fluorine, a threshold similar to that used by compost certifiers who wish to exclude articles with PFAS. These levels do not indicate a risk of developing a particular health problem; they are simply considered a reliable indicator of the presence of chemicals.

Overall, the lab found levels above the 100 ppm threshold in two of nine sandwich wrappers (from five different restaurant chains), in all small paper bags tested at all three fast food chains, and in all molded fiber bowls they have been tested on. the healthy food chains CAVA, Sweetgreen and Freshii.

In particular, they found that a Big Mac clamshell box and bags of McDonald’s chips and cookies exceeded the threshold of 100 ppm fluoride, although other packaging for hamburgers, Egg McMuffin and McChicken sandwiches did not. have not done. Cardboard boxes for McNuggets or French fries also had low or undetectable fluoride levels. At Burger King, one in three Whopper packaging has been tested above this threshold for fluoride; bags for chicken nuggets and cookies have also tested positive, unlike cardboard boxes. Only one cookie bag exceeded the selection level at Wendy’s. Ironically, the healthier outlets fared less well, as all of the molded fiber cereal or salad bowls had higher fluoride levels than any found in fast food packaging.

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