Turns Out Pizza-Delivery Boxes Might Contain Toxic Chemicals

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Avoid if "perfluorinated." Corbis

What's that? It's been two whole months since something delicious was linked to cancer? Well, then: The FDA says it's officially decided to ban three kinds of perfluoroalkyl ethyls, a class of exceptionally common chemicals used in water- and grease-proof pizza boxes and other food packaging, because new data show there's "no longer a reasonable certainty" that they don't cause birth defects or have other weird cancer-causing properties. The agency says the three chemicals in question (an absolute mouthful that can be found here) can't be used anymore in FCSs, or food-contact substances.

Almost a dozen groups — the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety to the Breast Cancer Fund, and so on — had filed a petition asking for the ban, which the FDA clarified will go into effect 30 days after whatever date it's published in the Federal Register (basically the official log of federal rules). Scientists have been saying for a while that this class of chemicals found in food packaging needs to go. It can also be found in sandwich wrappers, the lining of microwave popcorn bags, and the wax paper used to wrap pastries.

The consumer advocacy group that filed the petition says the ban is a great first step, but now it wants the FDA to get serious about seven other food additives "we believe — and government agencies such as the toxicology program at the National Institutes of Health have found — cause cancer."

[Food Safety News, Bloomberg BNA]