Youtuber Russell Brand brings his 5.4 million viewers news about toxics and Covid that we've been warning about for the past 24 months:
Toxic chemicals in food packaging – particularly fast food wrappers – weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to diseases like Covid-19.
Brand, whose videos regularly get 1 million views or more, treats this as a surprise – we've all be told throughout the pandemic to wear masks, maintain social distance. But nobody was talking about how toxics, leaching from food packaging, are likely to make Covid-19 more deadly.
"Now I'm beginning to think that certain measures, certain priorities, were considered important whereas others simply weren't considered," he says.
Brand cites quite solid reporting from Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner in Nation of Change and the USA Today.
Endocrine disrupting compounds
But had Brand been a regular reader of EHN.org, this wouldn't be such a shock. Just before the pandemic shut down the United States in mid-March, 2020, we published a report from 33 scientists around the world who concluded that hazardous chemicals leaching from food packaging harm our health.
We followed that with reporting in October showing fast food from popular chains such as McDonald's, Burger King, and Pizza Hut contain harmful chemicals linked to a suite of health problems.
And Brand could have taken his conclusions further. It's not just food packaging that leaves us more vulnerable to pandemics like Covid-19. It's the food itself: Fast food is linked to diabetes and obesity, diseases that are exacerbated by toxic chemicals like endocrine disrupting compounds that leach from packaging.
"Thousands of scientific papers have been published in the last 20 years linking endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure to the very comorbidities that increase the risk of dying from COVID-19," wrote EHN.org chief scientist Pete Myers in an essay we published in April 2020.
So while this may be old news to a lot of us, we're glad to see influencers like Brand tackle this with the alarm and urgency it deserves.