SAN ANTONIO – A new study published in Nature reveals that phthalates, a chemical used to keep plastics soft, and similar chemicals were found in foods purchased at McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Chipotle.
The chemicals were also found in the gloves used to handle food, which the study authors hypothesized could be the source of the contamination.
The concept of glove contamination seems to make sense, given that more chemicals were found in burritos than in hamburgers. The fries, which are generally not touched at all, showed no contamination. However, the study did not reach any firm conclusions on that point.
Phthalates are linked to a number of health problems in children and adults. In adults, they have been linked to everything from reproductive problems to endocrine system problems. The National Institutes of Health cited the need to regulate phthalates in foods to protect brain development in children, linking the compounds to ADHD and behavioral disorders.
According to The Washington Post, efforts to obtain a statement from the six chains involved in the sampling were unsuccessful. The FDA has acknowledged being aware of the study’s findings but has not yet issued a statement or taken any action.