FDA Bans Chemicals Used to Make Pizza Boxes, Microwavable Popcorn Bags due to Possible Link to Birth Defects, Cancer

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Jan 07, 2016 05:30 AM EST

Fret not all you pizza lovers out there, there is nothing wrong with your favorite oven-baked flatbread dish. And, the FDA is taking some measures to make sure it stays that way.

The federal health officials have just announced a new ruling that will ban three chemicals mostly found in food packagings such as pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags. This new rule is effective Jan. 4, 2016, says FDA.

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is amending the food additive regulations to no longer provide for the use of three specific perfluoroalkyl ethyl containing food-contact substances (FCSs) as oil and water repellants for paper and paperboard for use in contact with aqueous and fatty foods because new data are available as to the toxicity of substances structurally similar to these compounds that demonstrate there is no longer a reasonable certainty of no harm from the food-contact use of these FCSs," wrote FDA in a document published online at the Federal Register, the daily journal of the U.S. government.

There are advocacy groups that have been trying to lobby for the banning of such substances from food packaging for a while already. This move from the FDA is in response to the petition filed by nine different groups—namely, the Natural Resources Defense Council, 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, Children's Environmental Health Network, Environmental Working Group, and Improving Kids' Environment.

These three perfluoroalkyl ethyls containing food-contact substances were deemed as carcinogenic and can cause birth defects, according to an article from the Newsy. For the food companies that have been using packaging containing these chemicals, they can opt for the more than 20 chemical alternatives that the FDA has given their approval to.

Some critics, however, have already warned about the use of those alternatives. They say that even though the FDA has already approved of them, there is still the possibility that they too may contain toxic substances that can cause cancer.

"The FDA's ban is an important first step—but just a first step—toward improving the safety of our food supply. 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," said Erik Olson, director of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) health program, the Food Safety News reported.

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