FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration) took the decision to ban certain substances contained in pizza boxes due to health concerns. The agency took this decision as a result of a petition from October 2014 which requested the ban of food-contact substances (FCSs) in conventional food packaging.
Food-contact substances function as oil and water repellents so as to prevent paper packages such as pizza boxes to become soft and wet when they get in contact with fatty or greasy foods.
The petition namely urged the ban of three tree perfluoroalkyl ethyl substances. The request was signed by three organizations: the Center for Environmental Health, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Center for Food Safety, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Water Action, the Breast Cancer Fund, Improving Kid’s Environment, Children’s Environmental Health Network and Environmental Working Group.
The policy will take effect 30 days starting from January 4, when it was filled in the Federal Register, the daily journal of the federal government. Policies will be amended to no longer use Pentanoic acid, Diethanolamine salts and Perfluoroalkyl. Also known as perfluorochemicals or PFCs, Perfluoroalkyl substances are widely used all over the world in food packaging, Teflon pans, non-stick cookware, furniture fabrics, waterproof jackets and fire-fighting foams.
Health experts are examining the effects of PFCs on health on the long run, since they are widely used in so many industries. It has been discovered that these substances are harmful to some vertebrates such as birds, fish and mammals if they are exposed to them through inhalation, oral or dermal routes. In animal studies PFCs-linked cancer was observed in some organs such as pancreas, liver and reproductive organs. Past studies have linked the contact with long-chain PFCs to birth defects.
Exposure to these substances can lead to changes in the thyroid function and the alteration of the immune system and the limbid metabolism. In addition they can cause developmental harm and hormonal effects. High levels of PFCs in the blood are also suspected to increase cholesterol levels in the blood, as studies have showed.
In order to avoid being exposed to such harmful substances people are recommended to be careful with packaged food, especially oily and greasy fast food. Avoiding non-stick cookware is also a good way to stay away from PFCs. One should not let the pan heat to over 450ºF and in case the cookware shows any sign of deterioration people are advised to discard it.
Image Source: time.com