Bad news, college students: Pizza boxes contain toxic chemicals

fda bans chemicals in pizza boxes sony dsc
Sure, we’ve accepted (albeit begrudgingly) that pizza isn’t the greatest for our health. But the box too?! That may be just too much to handle. Pizza lovers, college students, and Americans everywhere, take note — I have cause for consternation. The Food and Drug Administration has just banned three chemicals found in food packaging, most notably in the all-important pizza box.

As it turns out, three perfluoroalkyl ethyl types (which are not only used in food packaging, but also in carpet cleaners and camping tents) are toxic, which, given the aforementioned information, comes as little surprise. These perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are currently used to repel oil and water in pizza boxes, but they should also repel you. According to a recent ruling by the FDA, there is “no longer a reasonable certainty of no harm from the food-contact use of these [chemicals].” Which seems to be a euphemism for, “Your pizza box may make you sick.”

The controversy surrounding these hazardous materials is nothing new — in May of last year, The New York Times reported on a public campaign that reignited a “years-old debate” regarding the chemicals, noting that PFASs “lingered in people’s bodies for years, and appeared to increase the risks of cancer and other health problems.”

And now, over seven months later, the FDA is finally taking action.

The official ban will be implemented in its entirety 30 days after the ruling is published in the Federal Register, the government agency says, and of course, doesn’t spell the end of all delivery pizza forever. It’s just going to prompt a need for some serious creativity in creating new pizza boxes that don’t include the PFASs.

So here’s your chance, aspiring entrepreneurs — there now exists a need for disruption in the pizza box industry. Think you’re up for the challenge?

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