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Chemical traces found in food served by McDonald’s, Burger King, and Pizza Hut

In a recent study, researchers found that fast foods have some alarming effects that show why they may be harmful to health. According to a study published in the weekly Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, foods by McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Taco Bell contain phthalates, a substance that keeps plastic soft.

A phthalate is generally used as a plasticizer to increase the flexibility, durability, and longevity of plastics. Products containing them include vinyl flooring, lubricating oils, soaps, hair sprays, laundry detergent, etc. In collaboration with George Washington University, Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, Texas), Boston University and Harvard University, researchers analyzed 64 hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, chicken burritos, and cheese pizza obtained from these establishments.

According to a Hindustan Times report, more than 80 percent of the food contained a phthalate called DnBP, and 70 percent contained DEHT. The plasticizer DEHT is used both in gloves for staff and in food to replace more toxic chemicals. You can find it in bottle caps, conveyor belts, flooring materials, and waterproof clothing. Researchers also analyzed three pairs of gloves used in a neighbourhood near their lab in Texas.

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According to the study, substantial evidence links ‘phthalate exposures to increased risks for children’s learning, attention, and behavioral problems’. This can also affect pregnant women and people of color. Researchers acknowledge, however, that the study is limited, as the food items came only from one city. On the other hand, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it will review the study.


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