When Massimo Stano took the gold medal in race walking at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, he flat-footed his way across 12.4 miles in 81 minutes and 0.05 seconds — that’s walking an astounding 10 mph.
That’s how fast you want to walk away from fast foods. (On your 10,000 steps per day, you probably hit 3-plus miles per hour.) A new study in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology tested fast food to see if it contained 11 potentially harmful chemicals (phthalates and their replacement plasticizers). The chemicals migrate from packaging into the food and are linked to a long list of serious health problems, including fertility issues, metabolic disruption, and, for kids, learning, attention and behavioral problems.
Overall, the tested samples of hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, chicken burritos and cheese pizza were polluted with 10 of those chemicals. Meats — chicken burritos and cheeseburgers — were the most contaminated. Cheese pizza had the lowest levels of all chemicals that were investigated.
So do yourself and your kids a favor — ditch fast foods pronto and work on limiting the foods you buy that are packaged in plastics. Biomarkers of phthalates exposure are detected in virtually all of the U.S. population. Let’s see how fast you can walk away from them — starting now.
But you can’t do it alone. Write your government representatives. Let them know that although some phthalates are banned from toys and other products, they’re still used in food packaging. Stronger regulations are needed to keep phthalates and replacement plasticizers out of our foods.