New York: A new study reveals that phthalates, a chemical used to keep plastics soft, which are linked to many health problems, were found in food purchased from famous food chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Taco Bell and Chipotle.Also Read - Taco Bell Allegedly Fires Man For Wearing Black Lives Matter Face Mask, #RIPTacoBell Trends Globally

Researchers obtained 64 food samples of hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, chicken burritos and cheese pizza from these chains and found that over 80% of the foods contained a phthalate called DnBP. And 70% contained the phthalate DEHP. Both of the chemicals have been linked to reproductive health problems. Also Read - Watch | Thief Breaks into Restaurant, Cooks a Meal and Then Takes a 3-Hour Nap Before Stealing

Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals widely used in cosmetics, vinyl floors, detergents, disposable gloves, wire covers, and—for years now—food packages. They make plastic supple and bendable, which is why they’re so ubiquitous. But they’re also linked to a risk of serious health ailments, including reproductive problems, asthma, and brain impairment in kids. Also Read - 'My baby's been shot!' Chaotic scene at shooting of infant

The study was published in this week in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology by researchers from George Washington University, the Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, Texas), Boston University and Harvard University.

Food containing meat, such as chicken burritos and cheeseburgers, had higher levels of the chemicals studied, while cheese pizza had the lowest levels.

The detected levels of phthalates in the study are below the Environmental Protection Agency’s health protective thresholds.

Lariah Edwards, an author of the analysis and a postdoctoral research scientist at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, told USA TODAY that it’s “concerning” to find these chemicals “detected in the foods that we ingest.”

Edwards, however, noted that the food tested by researchers only came from one city, and the analysis does not focus on different kinds of restaurants. But she explained that the research could “reflect an industry-wide problem” because fast food restaurants can “process and handle their foods all very similarly.”

The Food and Drug Administration in a statement to the Washington Post said that it will review the study.

“Although the FDA has high safety standards, as new scientific information becomes available, we reevaluate our safety assessments,” said an FDA spokesperson. “Where new information raises safety questions, the FDA may revoke food additive approvals, if the FDA is no longer able to conclude that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from the authorized use.”

The full health impact of these alternative plasticizers are not yet known, the researchers said.