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Paper Box Chemicals No Longer Considered Safe by FDA for Contact With Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday announced it plans to publish a final rule banning three chemicals used in many pizza boxes and other food packaging.

In response to a petition filed by 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, FDA said it was going to ban three specific perfluoroalkyl ethyl types.

Home-Page-Pizza-Boxes_406x250The perfluoroalkyl ethyl is used in food contact substances (FCSs) that act as oil and water repellants for paper and paperboard, which comes in contact with aqueous and fatty foods. FDA says new data is available that shows 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.

FDA says the final rule will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The process also includes the possibility for filing objections and demands for a public hearing.

Erik Olson, director of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) health program, praised the FDA action citing its potential for safer pizza boxes.

“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,” Olson said.

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