When it comes to takeout, pizza boxes are up there with Chinese food containers as iconic symbols of our favorite foods. Chances are, you haven’t spent much time thinking about the cardboard carrier of your delicious pizza, but an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration has us looking at pizza boxes in a new, not quite warm way.
Earlier this week, the FDA announced that they are banning three chemicals found in pizza boxes, along with other common food packaging. All three chemicals are types of perfluoroalkyl ethyl, which is basically the stuff that makes it possible for your pizza box to repel oil from your pizza. They are also used in microwaveable popcorn bags to ensure the buttery oil stays on the popcorn, not on the bag.
The organization cited new data that could indicate a health hazard in the decision to ban the chemicals. Perfluoroalkyl ethyl, or perfluorochemicals, are extremely common in products other than food packaging, like Teflon pans and waterproof clothing. Studies have found that the chemical can be absorbed by the body, so it’s crucial to understand what that means for our health.
According to a petition filed with the FDA by the Natural Resources Defense Council and others, including the Center for Food Safety and the Environmental Working Group, the chemicals had negative impacts on lab animals, and thus could be effecting our health as well. The FDA has suggested the chemicals could increase the risk of birth defects and cancer, as well as thyroid issues and changes to the immune system.
The ban will take 30 days to officially take effect, so maybe skip the pizza to-go until early February.
(Image via iStock)