McDonalds - KFC - Subway - Gregg’s - Pret-a-Manger - Pizza Hut and more
Over the last decade, incidence rates for cancers in children have increased by a tenth (10%) in the UK.
Fast food has always been a concern because of obesity in both children and adults that they contribute to. But Cancers and reproductive health concerns are also implicated, as a result of carcinogenic food wrappings containing human made PFAS chemicals that leach into the food and are ingested and remain in the human body for a lifetime.
Comprising of more than 4,700 chemicals, per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of widely used, man-made chemicals that accumulate over time in humans and in the environment.
CHEM trust and seven other not for profit organisations have published a new scientific investigation showing that harmful, persistent PFAS chemicals are used in disposable take-away food packaging in the UK and across Europe. These results show that PFAS continues to be widely used in UK takeaway food packaging, with little change since 2019, when Fidra tested packaging in a similar study.
Some cancer causing PFAS emitted today could still be present in the environment in several centuries. This represents a threat for both current and future generations of people and wildlife. This raises legitimate questions about their multiple consumer and industrial uses, including their use in disposable products such as disposable food packaging.
PFAS migrate from the packaging into the food, adding to the overall PFAS
When you consider that in the UK, parents take their children to McDonald's 'as a treat', our children's food poses a serious risk to their health, because these carcinogenic chemicals present in food wrappings contaminate the food ; with the results being that the child then ingests that contaminated foods.
PFAS are persistent and are often referred to as forever chemicals. Once they enter the environment, they do not readily degrade. Some PFAS have estimated half-lives of over 1,000 years. PFAS are also extremely mobile, meaning they travel easily throughout our environment and can be found far from their original source. Many PFAS are considered bioaccumulative, they concentrate up food chains and are not easily expelled from the human body. 99% of Americans have PFAS in their blood and numbers are now considered to be similar all over the world. (Report: Forever Chemicals In The Food Aisle.)
Child cancers are on the increase in the UK by 8 to 10%
Scientific studies have associated exposure to a number of PFAS with severe adverse health effects, including cancer, impacts on the immune, reproductive and hormone systems, as well as reduced response to vaccinations.
Fertility rates in males are decreasing in the general population in the UK, research has found.
Cathryn Higgs, Head of Policy at Co-op said:
CHEM Trust’s view: time for the UK government to act
Our study shows that in Denmark, where a ban on PFAS in food packaging has been in place since July 2020, french fries bags from McDonald’s are not treated with PFAS chemicals. The same item was bought in the UK at the same time and was found to be treated with PFAS chemicals.
Dr Julie Schneider, Campaigner at CHEM Trust and co-author of the study said:
“Every year of delay in regulating this group of ‘forever chemicals’ increases the pollution burden for current and future generations of people and wildlife. Some PFAS emitted today could still be present in the environment in several centuries.
Source: Cancer Research UK / Chemtrust / Friends of the Earth Germany / The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) / European Environment Agency / FIDRA