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You probably already know by now that fast food is not healthy and that you shouldn't live off the stuff because even if it doesn't kill you, it will increase your chances of obesity. But now researchers have discovered another disconcerting angle on this type of food, which is that the preparation process itself seems to have harmful effects on consumers.So, can you sue McDonald's? Well, probably not but we'll get to that momentarily. First, the findings.
According to The Washington Post, researchers at George Washington University linked fast-food consumption to the presence of potentially harmful chemicals in people, chemicals that in other non-consumable products have been linked to "a number of adverse health outcomes, including higher rates of infertility, especially among males."
The study was published in the National Institute of Health's journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and it could have major public health implications. Researcher in this study defined fast food as anything that was consumed at or from a restaurant without wait staff. They found that one-third of the 9,000 participants ate fast food before a urine sample was taken, which is in line with national figures on consumption.
What the urine samples revealed was that participants who ate fast food within 24 hours of giving a sample had high levels of two different phthalates. Sound okay? Well, wait.
According to the National Library of Medicine, phthalates are a family of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. The problem is that there is little known about what precisely these chemicals do to people, particularly not at the elevated levels discovered in recent consumers of fast food. Recent studies have found that these chemicals increase the risk of allergies in kids and affect child behavior.
There have been attempts to sue fast food companies and predictions that this is "the next tobacco." The basis for claims has generally been failure to warn of the dangers associated with excessive consumption made by obese plaintiffs.
But many states have statutes barring such suits, and it is unlikely that the new information can be used to make a claim. The connection between fast food, phthalates, and illness is "striking" according to Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University.
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