Some pizza box chemicals no longer considered safe by FDA

Pizza-in-Box_123RF11882996_blogThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week its plan to publish a final rule that will ban three chemicals used in many pizza boxes and other food packaging.

Known as perfluoroalkyl ethyl types, these chemicals are used in food contact substances and act as oil and water repellents for paper and paperboard. In the case of pizza boxes, these chemicals help prevent the boxes from getting soaked by grease and act as a barrier between other types of fatty foods and their packaging.

According to a recent article, the FDA is taking action in response to new data available that shows these chemicals could have cancer-causing properties as well as the potential to cause other diseases. In fact, some types of these chemicals have already come under fire and have previously been phased out in the food industry.

The action to ban these chemicals also comes in response to a petition filed by several groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Center for Food Safety, Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Environmental Health, Clean Water Action, and several others.

The FDA says in the article that the final rule will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The process also includes the possibility for filing objections and demands for a public hearing.

Erik Olson, director of the NRDC health program, said in the article that he is in favor of the FDA’s action, citing its potential for safer pizza boxes. “The FDA’s ban is an important first step — but just a first step — toward improving the safety of our food supply.”

A similar warning came earlier this year in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, whose coverage included a statement signed by 200 scientists from 38 countries urging restrictions on the use of these chemicals in pizza boxes as well as in the waxy paper often used to serve pastries, microwave bags of popcorn, and other items including outdoor clothing, carpets, furniture and more.

As stated in another article, several representatives from the chemical industry insist that the chemicals are safe to use and that those which have already been replaced, were the ones that were dangerous. They are also urging the FDA to compile more research before banning the chemicals and forcing the industry to find alternatives in their food packaging and other products.

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