Scientists found fluorinated chemicals in about a third of take-out food packaging samples tested, according to an academic paper released earlier this week by the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.
Previous research has shown these chemicals can migrate from packaging into the food that customers eat.
The nine authors of the paper included scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Environmental Working Group.
Contaminants were found in food contact materials at almost every national chain. Of 407 samples taken from fast food chain outlets in five states, more than 33 percent were contaminated with per- or polyfluorinated substances, also known as PFAs. Contamination was most common in food contact paper, where 46 percent of 248 samples tested positive. The substances detected are very similar in composition and chemical structure to those that were found to contaminate well water in the Fountain Valley in 2016.
In January 2016, the CSBJ reported that wells supplying water to 80,000 residents of Fountain, Widefield and Security were contaminated with highly toxic long-chain perfluorinated substances.
Thanks to actions by water providers, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the U.S. Air Force, the Environmental Protection Agency and Colorado Springs Utilities, the wells were eventually shut down and replaced with uncontaminated water from the Southern Delivery System. The Air Force is paying for homes with private wells to be equipped with filters.
The contaminants had migrated into groundwater in the Fountain Valley from foam used in firefighting exercises at Peterson Air Force Base.
Even in minute quantities, PFAs can be dangerous, scientists say.
Read more about the food packaging study in the Feb. 3 edition of the Colorado Springs Business Journal