There have been some safety concerns for some time about pizza boxes, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now said that they are removing three difference chemicals from not only pizza boxes, but all food packaging.
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Up until now, there have been three chemicals - all types of long-chain perfluorinated compounds - that were used to stop the grease from leaking through the packaging. They were used in packages for foods like fast food wrappers, pet foods, microwaveable popcorn, and yes, pizza boxes. However, environmental and health groups have expressed concerns about these chemicals. In fact, there was a Food Additive Petition submitted to the FDA by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Center for Food Safety, the Breast Cancer Fund, the Center for Environmental Health, Clean Water Action, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Children’s Environmental Working Group and Improving Kids’ Environments.
The FDA made the decision to ban these chemicals in December, because of the “safety concerns through a comprehensive review of the available literature.” The ban went into effect on January 4, according to Food Safety News.
These chemicals were actually pretty rarely used, according to the FDA, because more packaging manufacturers stay away from using them in their products. The SPI–The Plastics Industry Trade Association echoed the FDA’s findings in a statement to the Daily Environment Report: “It is the understanding of SPI's member companies that the materials listed in FDA's final rule are no longer manufactured for food-contact applications and represent an old technology. FDA's action thus does not impact SPI's members.”
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The move is being praised, but many hope that the FDA will make further bans. “The FDA’s ban is an important first step—but just a first step—toward improving the safety of ouar food supply,” Erik Olson, director of the NRDC said. “Now it should act on our petition to ban the seven other chemicals we believe—and government agencies such as the toxicology program at the National Institutes of Health have found—cause cancer."