In “With takeout, little things mean (and cost) a lot” (Page A1, Feb. 3), Janelle Nanos points out that the restaurant Lulu Green, despite the increased costs, uses compostable, PFAS-free containers that are safer for people and the environment. PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” are toxic, persistent chemicals that don’t break down. They are found in people, plants, and animals across the globe.
By choosing healthier takeout containers, Lulu Green and others are doing a great service to the public, given early evidence that people who have higher exposures to PFAS are more likely to have more severe cases of COVID-19. Studies also show PFAS can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines in children. As the state works to vaccinate its population, the pandemic could subside within a year. However, the widespread exposures to PFAS through consumer products such as takeout containers will not go away.
At Silent Spring Institute, we have found that Americans who eat more fast food have higher levels of PFAS chemicals in their bodies. Restaurants like Lulu Green and McDonald’s are working to change that. It is a critical time to support local restaurants, and we can also encourage more restaurants to invest in safer packaging.
The writer is a staff scientist at Silent Spring Institute, a nonprofit research organization focused on breast cancer prevention and environmental health.