We all know that fast food is not the healthiest option to choose for our meal, but the latest studies show how much consumption of such food can directly harm our health.

Scientists from George Washington University have ordered food off the menus of the most famous fast-food chains: Burger King, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Dominos, and Chipotle and analyzed it.

The main criteria taken into account when ordering was the dish’s popularity, so the scientist ended up with a bunch of hamburgers, nuggets, chicken burritos, fries, and cheese pizza, America’s greatest inventions filling the tummies of millions of Americans and people around the globe!

Meat full of - plastic?!

The results of the analysis showed that the organic chemical compounds phthalates, also known as plasticizers, were found in more than 80% of the ordered products!

Phthalates form a basic component of all plastic packaging and are usually found in a variety of products, from building materials, through adhesives to cleaning products.

Quite surprisingly, meat products had the highest level of phthalates, while cheese pizza and french fries had the lowest.

The scientists revealed that the analyzed food could come into contact with phthalates in various ways, from equipment used for food processing, its packaging, to gloves worn by restaurant employees.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a person can be exposed to phthalates in a variety of ways, most commonly by consuming food that has been in contact with products containing them or by inhaling phthalate particles from the air.

Phthalates are associated with a number of health problems, such as infertility, asthma, thyroid disease, cancer, and in children - attention disorders, and various behavioral problems.

You should stop eating fast food - now!

70% of the ordered food contained DEHP phthalate, which is associated with reproductive and fertility issues, and as much as 81% of the analyzed products contained DnBp phthalate associated with an increased risk of developing asthma.

As awareness of the detrimental health effects of phthalates grows, scientists have developed alternative plasticizers, such as DEHT which is used to produce more than 86% of unhealthy foods.

The worrying fact is that the effects of such new compounds on health are still unknown.

Ami Zota, an environmental professor at GWU, expressed his concerns to The Washington Post, stating how “lower-income Americans and people of color are more exposed to phthalates”.

Professor Zota pointed out that poorer neighborhoods are “swamped” by fast food restaurants, as healthy food sources such as fruits and vegetables are limited.

However, Zota’s claims are nothing more than a guess, since no official research was conducted nor published on the matter.

The only public report was the 2019 CDC report, showing “women are more exposed to phthalates than men due to the use of cosmetics”.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it would analyze the George Washington University study and assess its safety risks based on the results.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the regulation of the so-called Per or PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl) substances, and this announcement followed after that substance appeared throughout the U.S. in drinking water.

PFAS is used in the production of various waterproof items (raincoats, dishes, etc.) and is also associated with a number of health problems: birth defects, decreased birth weight, elevated cholesterol, increased risk of cancer.

Michael Regan, the EPA administrator, said that families in America, and especially those in “less privileged” communities, have suffered for too long because of PFAS in the air, land, and water, adding that the PFAS national strategy will provide protection.