Chipotle bowls are a staple for the fast food chain, but a new report is causing concern for the compostable food containers now used at many restaurants.
The New Food Economy reported the fiber bowls are exposed to chemicals that can lead to cancer.
The researchers tested bowls from Chipotle, Sweetgreen and other New York City eateries and found they were treated with substances called PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” that help the containers hold hot, wet and greasy foods.
This may be bad news because the EPA says those compounds don’t break down in the human body or nature — and can accumulate over time.
“PFAS are colloquially called ‘forever chemicals’ for a reason,” according to the report. “You might only handle your salad bowl for five minutes, but the chemicals inside it, as far as we know, will stick around for countless generations.”
While the researchers note that the public health implications of PFAS are still being studied, some of the worst have already been linked to colitis, thyroid disorders and kidney and testicular cancers
The chemicals can also seep into soil as the bowls break down, leading to toxic compost.
The report finds that the products are actually “contributing to a growing environmental crisis.”
Chipotle issued the following statement to KRON in San Francisco,:
“We are committed to using safe and sustainable food packaging and only partner with suppliers who make fluorochemical sciences and food safety a top priority. These suppliers operate under strict guidelines set forth by the FDA, and have all provided chipotle with certification that all raw material and finished pulp products fully meet regulatory requirements.”