The Secret Ingredient in Your Takeout Packaging

If you have gotten takeout food, then you most likely have encountered “forever chemicals.” 

Also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, these chemicals are used in takeout food packaging to increase grease and water resistance — and they can also be found in items such as cookware, carpeting, and waterproof apparel and gear.

There are thousands of different types of PFAS. Although they are what help keep grease and contents from seeping out of our food containers, these manufactured chemicals are linked to adverse health effects including decreased fertility, hormone disruption, and growth and learning delays in children.

PFAS are also called forever chemicals for a reason — because the chemical bonds forming them are extremely hard to break down, they persist not only in our environment, but in our bodies. Temporary food packaging for forever chemicals? No thanks!

When the food packaging we throw away finds its way to the landfill, PFAS find their way into our food and water supply. The good news is that California, along with a number of other states, have recently banned PFAS in paper-food packaging, with California’s ban to take effect in 2023. In the meantime, see if there is a restaurant near you that offers takeout in reusable containers, or whenever possible, see if you can bring your own container to pick up takeout from a restaurant, and ditch those forever chemicals for good!