In five nearly-identical lawsuits, a South Florida woman claims she was harmed by toxic chemicals in polystyrene fast-food boxes.
The lawsuits were filed against Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bell, Panda Express, and Wendy’s.
The woman ate at all five restaurants in the Miami-Dade area from January 12 to January 21, including Dunkin’ and Taco Bell on the same day.
After touching the fast-food boxes and eating the food, she claims she developed “skin lesions looking like acid burns and swelling on the extremities.” Further tests confirmed she had acid in her bloodstream.
The fast-food boxes were made of polystyrene, a cheap plastic material that can release a toxic chemical impurity when it gets hot.
The benzene chemical — 1,3,5-Triphenycyclohexane — is a suspected carcinogen that is known to cause skin irritation and other side effects.
Her lawyers claim the fast-food restaurants owe it to their customers to ensure the boxes “unadulterated and free of harmful chemicals,” according to the lawsuits.
This isn’t the first time fast-food boxes have come under scrutiny for potential health risks. Burger wrappers and French fry sleeves commonly contain harmful chemicals like fluorine or PFOA, according to Consumer Reports.
The lawsuits were filed on April 7, 2020 in the Circuit Court for the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Date County, Florida.