retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post reports that "researchers at George Washington University have linked fast-food consumption to the presence of potentially harmful chemicals, a connection they argue could have 'great public health significance.' Specifically, the team found that people who eat fast food tend to have significantly higher levels of certain phthalates, which are commonly used in consumer products such as soap and makeup to make them less brittle but have been linked to a number of adverse health outcomes, including higher rates of infertility, especially among males."

The danger, the researchers believe, isn't necessarily a result of the food itself, but rather the process by which the food is prepared. The findings were published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal funded by the National Institutes of Health ... The reason people who eat fast food seem to have much higher levels of potentially harmful industrial chemicals is unclear. But it's easy enough to guess: the sheer amount of processing that goes into food served at quick-service restaurants. The more machinery, plastic, conveyor belts, and various forms of processing equipment that food touches, the more likely the food is to contain higher levels of phthalates. And fast food tends to touch a good deal more of these things than, say, the food one purchases at a local farmers market."
KC's View:
To be fair, there is a lot of supposition and speculation in this study, but I'm willing to accept most of the arguments. Except that I'm pretty sure that none of these problems are occurring an In-N-Out ... which may be a rationalization, but I'm comfortable with that.