There are plenty of reasons to eat more home-cooked meals and now there's another one thanks to startling research about chemicals found in food containers.
A new study found that going out to eat and getting take out might expose you to a group of toxic chemicals that could cause major health problems. The study found that getting your food to go could expose you to toxic chemicals called Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS for short.
"PFAS are what's known as 'forever chemicals,' said Kevin Loria with Consumer Reports. "And that's because they essentially never break down naturally. So, once they're made, they accumulate in the environment, they end up in our water supply, they end up in our food and they end up in us."
Janna Walls sees a home-cooked dinner as a way to see exactly what her kids are eating.
"I make them something that's fresh, organic, has no additives, colors, there's a vegetable, something green," Walls said.
At high exposure, some PFAS chemicals have been linked to some serious health problems, including an increased risk of cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, as well as growth and learning delays in some babies and children.
PFAS chemicals are everywhere you look. You'll find them in the surfaces of some non-stick pans, lining typical take-out containers and pizza boxes. They're used to keep grease from seeping through.
"So, we don't know how much of our individual exposure comes from food packaging exactly, but what this study did show, is people who cooked at home more had lower levels of PFAS in their blood than people who ate out more frequently," Loria said.
Loria says there are several things you can do to limit your exposure to these chemicals, starting with more fresh food, and when you do go out to eat or bring food in, it's worth simply getting the food out of the to-go boxes right away. And don't store or reheat food in the containers it came in.