According to a recent report, grease-proof food containers such as pizza boxes are hazardous to health, FDA says that the chemicals used to make them grease-resistant may cause cancer.
As of recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on three types of the chemicals, and reportedly there are seven more bans to come.
Perfluorinated chemicals are used by the food industry to coat the interior of food packaging to prevent grease from staining containers. The FDA, which had previously approved the use of these chemicals, announced Monday that the chemical agents are no longer permitted.
The new rules came into effect the same day the federal agency made them public: Jan. 4.
In the meantime, The Plastics Industry Trade Association, which represents the companies that produce the chemicals, said that the ban was unnecessary since the industry had long stopped to use the substances in containers that come in direct contact with food. The group said that the chemicals are viewed as ‘old technology,’ so they are no longer in use.
The new FDA rules will affect three types of perfluorinated chemicals, which have been used to render grease- and oil-resistant pizza boxes, takeaway boxes, popcorn bags, and bags containing pet food. The chemical agents prevented oily and fatty substances from leaking through the food container.
The FDA started to investigate the three chemicals and their effects on health in the wake of a petition signed by several environmental and public health advocacy groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Water Action, and Breast Cancer Fund.
The groups based the arguments in their petition on a 2010 FDA review on long-chain perfluorocarboxylates, which are chemicals very similar to the now-banned substances. The review had concluded that the chemical agents boosted the risk of cancer in the reproductive system of male and possibly female populations. The chemicals were banned in the U.S. a year later.
According to the recent report issued by the federal agency, the three perfluorinated chemicals may also involve a high level of toxicity which may later result in reproductive and developmental problems. So, it is not advisable for food to come in contact with the chemicals, the agency concluded.
But the groups that signed the petition currently want the FDA to investigate the bulk of the chemicals used by the food packaging industry. They also expressed their disappointment with the ‘belated ruling’ since a series of studies have showed that the chemicals are hazardous more than a decade ago.
Image Source: Torange
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