We all know there are a lot of good reasons to eat more fresh food and home-cooked meals. And now, new research indicates we’ve got one more. Scientists have found that restaurant food and takeout meals may be serving up extra helpings of certain toxic chemicals.
Consumer Reports tells us why we may want to skip the reservations and cook at home more.
PFAS are known as forever chemicals. That’s because they essentially never break down naturally. Once they’re made, they accumulate in the environment, ending up in our water supply, our food, and in us.
At high levels of exposure, some PFAS chemicals have been linked to serious health problems, including an increased risk of cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and growth and learning delays in babies and children.
PFAS chemicals are everywhere, including the surface of some nonstick pans and in the lining of some takeout containers and pizza boxes to keep grease from seeping through.
It’s not known exactly how much of our individual exposure comes from food packaging. But what the study did show is that people who cooked at home more often had lower levels of PFAS in their blood than those that ate out more frequently.
Consumer Reports says there are several things you can do to limit your exposure, starting with eating more fresh food. When you do eat out or order takeout, it’s worth unwrapping the food as soon as you can. And don’t store or reheat it in the containers it came in.
The study also cites a notable exception to the cook-at-home rule: microwave popcorn. People who reported eating it often had higher levels of certain PFAS chemicals in their blood. So limit how much microwave popcorn you eat.