The Toxic Chemical McDonald's Just Pledged To Remove From Its Packaging

Fast food may be easy and quick, but it also prompts plenty of opinions about which fast food restaurant has the worst fries or most unfortunate burgers. Still, everyone knows that it's decidedly not health food, and a person who heads out to order the unhealthiest thing at their favorite fast food chain should know full well what kind of journey they're about to embark on.  

However, fast food items and adjacent products can contain all sorts of unhealthy things, and not all of them are of "will clog your arteries" variety. Take the biggest fast food colossus of them all, McDonald's. It turns out that the burger chain's packaging material contains toxic chemicals, which is obviously not an optimal situation for anyone involved. Fortunately, the company has now taken steps to remove the issue. Let's take a look at the toxic chemical McDonald's just pledged to remove from its packaging.

McDonald's is removing PFAS from its packaging materials

In a press release via their corporate site, McDonald's has announced their ambitious new program to streamline their packaging and make it as ecologically sustainable as possible. Per Safer Chemicals, this also includes per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a.k.a. PFAS — toxic chemicals that helps the wrappers withstand grease and liquids. Unfortunately, PFAS also last essentially forever in nature, and can be quite harmful to human beings if they end up in our drinking water. "The science indicates that exposure to PFAS can damage our immune response, raise cholesterol, and cause other health problems," Science Director Erika Schreder of Toxic-Free Future described the problem. 

Reports of McDonalds' food wrappers containing PFAS emerged in the summer of 2020, courtesy of tests by advocacy groups. Though McDonald's was not the only fast food chain with a PFAS problem, they're now taking steps to remove the substances from their packaging materials altogether. While environmental campaigners are quite happy about this development, they do have one gripe. McDonald's says the process will take until 2025, and they would like the company to commit to making their packaging PFAS-free as early as 2022.