Chemicals found in junk food wrappers and microwaveable popcorn bags may be contaminating the food inside the wrapper and eventually ending up in the bloodstream, a University of Toronto research team discovered.
PFCAs, or perfluorinated carboxylic acids, are created when chemicals used to make non-stick products, break down. Found in blood of humans around the world, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is considered to be toxic.
Researchers determined a primary source of PFCA in humans may be caused by consumption of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters, or PAPs. These are used as a grease-resistant and can be found on many fast food wrappers, microwaveable popcorn bag linings, and even non-stick pots or pans.
Understanding the source of exposure is a primary goal of scientists. Limiting exposure of harmful chemicals is made difficult without first understanding the cause. Some claims include exposure to be related to prior environmental contamination as opposed to current fast food and popcorn bag lining.
The study found direct relation to PAPs in food wrappers and exposure of PFCAs and PFOA in humans. It could not be determined if PAPs were the only source of harmful chemicals, but researchers are certain they are at least somewhat responsible.
Government regulation working to limit exposure has begun in Europe, Canada, and the United States.