Pizza boxes have been deemed unsafe for consumers, due to chemicals that are used during their manufacturing process.
The impending ban was revealed on Monday, January 4, by representatives of the United States Food and Drug Administration, following a petition issued in October 2014 by a group of 9 non-profit organizations.
More precisely, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Breast Cancer Fund, the Environmental Working Group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Improving Kids’ Environment, the Center for Food Safety, the Clean Water Action, the Center for Environmental Health and the Children’s Environmental Health Network have all been militating against the use of dangerous food contact substances (FCS) in day-to-day packaging.
FCS compounds provide a protective layer for paper containers, such as pizza boxes, impeding fatty content and water coming from the warm meals from seeping into the packaging.
Thanks to this coating, pizza can remain fresh and keep its toppings intact while being transported by delivery staff. At the same time, the packaging can stay relatively clean, without becoming soggy or being spoiled by the food it protects.
However, now health officials have come to the conclusion that 3 varieties of perfluoroalkyl ethyl, commonly serving as FCS, are in fact hazardous to consumers.
Prior studies had suggested that such perflourinated substances, used in a wide variety of merchandise, ranging from electronics to footwear and non-stick pans, can lead to various thyroid disorders and to an inflammatory bowel disease known as ulcerative colitis.
It can also trigger preeclampsia, a condition which causes pregnant women to have excessively high blood pressure, which can even prove deadly to the mother or the baby, or can result in congenital disorders and other complications before, during or after birth.
It appears more evidence has been stacked up against the use of such compounds in food packaging, and although the risks faced by American consumers haven’t been fully estimated and understood it’s still better to eliminate them altogether.
As a result, it will soon be illegal to incorporate perflourinated substances in boxes ensuring the storing and transportation of warm meals.
For now, the decision to prohibit the use of perfluoroalkyl ethyl as an FCS has been made public on Thursday, January 7, in the Federal Register, the daily journal issued by the United States Government, and 30 days will have to pass before the interdiction is fully enforced.
Unless the ban is contested and a public hearing is required by February 3, 2016, from that point onward manufacturers will no longer be allowed to include the hazardous substances as part of pizza boxes and other types of food packaging.
The ban was welcomed by Erik Olson, senior strategic director of the food & agriculture and health programs, at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
According to him, while the interdiction concerning toxic FCS substances is important, this in fact just a small victory in the wide-ranging war against harmful chemicals commonly found in food items.
For instance, another petition issued by this organization has called for the FDA to strictly forbid 7 other substances which have been proven to be carcinogenic.
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