Fast foods have always been dubbed harmful for overall health. It contains high amount of fat and carbs that lead to several health problems including obesity, diabetes et al. A new report has now come up with some alarming findings that can be really harmful for human health. The findings, published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, states that traces of some harmful chemicals were found in burritos, pizzas, burgers etc that were bought from popular fast food chains in America. The chemicals include phthalates and plasticizers – each of which is used to make plastics soft. It was peer review study conducted by researchers from George Washington University, Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, Texas), Boston University and Harvard University.
The researchers bought hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, chicken burritos, cheese pizza and gloves from different restaurants in the USA and “analysed them for 11 chemicals using gas chromatography mass spectrometry,” the study states.
As per a report published on the official website of George Washington University:
- 81% of the food samples studied contained a phthalate called DnBP and 70% contained DEHP. Both these chemicals have been linked in numerous studies to fertility and reproductive problems in humans. These phthalates can also increase risk for learning, attention, and behavioural disorders in childhood.
- 86% of the foods contained the replacement plasticizer known as DEHT, a chemical that needs further study to determine its impact on human health.
- Foods containing meats, such as cheeseburgers and chicken burritos, had higher levels of the chemicals studied.
- Chicken burritos and cheeseburgers had the highest levels of DEHT. The researchers noted that food handling gloves collected from the same restaurants also contained this chemical.
- Cheese pizzas had the lowest levels of most chemicals tested.
“We found phthalates and other plasticizers are widespread in prepared foods available at U.S. fast food chains,” informed Lariah Edwards, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral scientist at GW, and further warned that the consumers are getting some “potentially” unhealthy chemicals along with their daily meals. She also stated that some stronger regulations should be implemented to eliminate the inclusion of these harmful chemicals from these fast foods.
In this regard, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it will review the study. In a statement to the Washington Post, FDA further announced that they may consider revoking the food additive approval, if they are unable to conclude that “there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from the authorized use.”