One of the major selling points that the fast-food chain Chipotle uses to market their products is the health benefits of eating freshly prepared foods. Their commercials feature happy workers lovingly preparing fresh veggies and meats for their wide assortment of choices.

Who knew that under all that fresh and healthy there could a hidden danger lurking?

The problem doesn't come from what Chipotle puts in their bowls, the issue seems to be with the bowls themselves. Chipotle, an environmentally friendly outfit, uses fiber bowls that are supposed to breakdown after they've been disposed of. However, some of the chemicals used in the manufacture of those bowls have been linked to certain cancers.

The chemicals that the Centers for Disease Control are most concerned about are called PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, I can see why they opted for calling them PFAS. These chemicals are added to the fiber bowls to help them hold up to hot, greasy food better than regular paper containers.

The chemicals are not new, they've been in use in the United States since the 1940s. While they are used a lot in packaging they are most often associated with contaminated drinking water.

The problem with these chemicals is they appear to bioaccumulate in our bodies over time. Since the body excretes them slowly there could be a reason for concern, if you eat the bowl along with the food in it.

When asked about a report linking chemicals in their bowls to cancer a spokesperson for Chipotle told Runner's World Magazine this:

As evidenced in Chipotle’s Sustainability Report, 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.

The reality of the situation appears to be that Chipotle's bowls are in fact safe. The exposure you or I might get from dining at Chipotle does not appear to pose a significant health risk. In fact, we run a greater risk of exposure to PFAS through our tap water than we would ever encounter while dining at Chipotle.




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