Warning: Your food wrappers contain compounds that can harm your health

By: Cat Ebeling & Mike Geary
Co-authors of the best-sellers:  The Fat Burning KitchenThe Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging & The Diabetes Fix

Cancer Causing Ingredients in Your Food Wrappers?

We all occasionally get fast food, even if its ‘healthy’ fast food. However, recent findings show the packaging that is used for ‘to go’ food is often laced with dangerous chemicals. Chemical compounds called PFC’s and PFA’s are used in food wrappers to prevent grease and liquids from the foods from leaking out. Unfortunately, because of the heat and grease, these chemicals can also easily leach into your food.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) supports a new peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, which shows test samples of some food wrappers contain the same notorious chemical used in Teflon. Scientists from several prominent organizations, including federal and state regulatory agencies, and research institutions, collaborated recently to test sandwich wrappers, French fry bags, pizza boxes, and other food packaging products from 27 different fast food chains and restaurants. Of the 327 samples, 40% tested positive for evidence of these PFC’s or PFA’s. (*See list of worst offenders at end of article.)

PFC’s or poly-fluorochemicals come from a family of chemicals used in Teflon pans and other water, grease, or stain-repellant coatings like Scotchguard. While some of these chemicals have actually been banned because of their toxicity, there are new breeds of PFC’s now being used in many types of consumer products that are not well-tested yet.

Perfluorinated chemicals such as PFC’s and PFA’s have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, developmental issues, abnormal thyroid levels, reproductive defects, immune system deficiencies, and other serious health issues. Even DuPont (maker of PFC’s) has acknowledged that some of these newer generation chemicals can cause cancerous tumors in animals, and children are even more vulnerable to these toxic chemicals leaching into food from the wrappers. Says Graham Peaslee of University of Notre Dame:

“These molecules are very long-lived in the environment and simply don’t break down easily or go away. Consumer products like papers that are being treated with PFA’s will decompose long before the treatment does and these chemicals will enter the environment directly from our landfills. This type of long-lived chemical just isn’t a sustainable practice; once it is made, it doesn’t go away.”

The Environmental Working Group recommendations include:

  • Fast food companies to stop using PFC’s or other related compounds in their food wrappers.
  • The FDA needs to close a loophole that allows companies to self-certify chemicals as “Generally Recognized as Safe”.
  • Avoid or limit your exposure to fast food wrappers, and remove wrapper as quickly as possible to limit the exposure to the chemicals.
  • Avoid paper plates, and other paper dishes.
  • Avoid non-stick dental floss


Obviously, fast food is not healthy in general and is usually processed with chemical additives, preservatives, artificial flavors and dyes, and often has genetically modified ingredients–as well as industrially raised ‘mystery meat’ loaded with chemicals and antibiotics. So here is just one more reason to avoid fast food!

*The study found desserts, bread and Mexican foods were often the most exposed to these chemicals and 100% of the samples from Jimmy John’s, Quiznos and Taco Time contained PFC’s or PFA’s. Rounding out the list of worst offenders for testing positive for these ingredients includes: Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Starbucks, Steak-n-Shake, Church’s Chicken, and Krispy Kreme.

Axe, J. Possible Cancer Causer Detected in 1/3 of Fast Food packaging (see where else it hides). Dr. Josh Axe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/fast-food-packaging/
Environmental working Group (Feb 2017), Eco Watch. Retrieved from http://www.ecowatch.com/perfluorinated-health-effects-2231217242.html

About The Watchdog

Mike Geary has been a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for over 15 years now. He has been studying nutrition and exercise for almost 25 years, ever since being a young teenager. Mike is originally from Pennsylvania, but has fallen in love with mountain life and now resides in the picturesque mountains of Utah. Mike is an avid adventurist and when he’s not spending his time skiing, mountain biking, hiking, or paddleboarding on the lake, he has enjoyed skydiving, whitewater rafting, piloting an Italian fighter plane (seriously), scuba diving, heli-skiing, and traveling all around the world, enjoying learning about different cultures. At the age of 40, Mike now feels healthier, stronger, and more energetic than when he was 20... All because of a healthy lifestyle and great nutrition!

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  1. I always do and always have raised my own organic veggies and eat mostly home cooked food. I use stainless steel cookware.I eat out only once a week at a nice restaurant. I very seldom eat fast food, but when I do, I like Chik filet. I am hoping it is safe to “eat in’ there. Your statements are very scary.

  2. Well, all the “get rid of EPS (Styrofoam) packaging” campaigners, stand up and take a bow: you got recyclable EPS replaced with “paper” wraps (that would be too “food contaminated” to ever recycle, anyway) impregnated with all kinds of unhealthy chemistry.

    Hope you’re all happy.

  3. Just heard on the news the other night that Chipotle has gone organic and is one of the safest places to eat. Hoping this is true

  4. thathomesite com

    But the new study shows some fast-food packaging contains a range of fluorinated compounds some of which have been linked to potential health effects.

  5. What about frozen juice concentrate containers?

  6. What is a nonstick floss ? Give me an example ,.Wax floss isn’t good to use.

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