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FDA Rules Chemicals In Pizza Boxes Are No Longer Safe

By Kyle Buis

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A rule change could affect how your pizza arrives due to a potential health risk.

The Food and Drug Administration announced it's ready to ban three substances that are "used as oil and water repellents for paper and paperboard for use in contact with aqueous and fatty foods." In other words, chemicals that help keep pizza grease from escaping the box.

The tree perfluoroalkyl ethyl substances were described in a filing in the Federal Register. Here's the nitty-gritty for our science-minded readers:

 1. Diethanolamine salts of mono- and bis (1 H, 1 H, 2 H, 2 H perfluoroalkyl) phosphates where the alkyl group is even-numbered in the range C8-C18 and the salts have a fluorine content of 52.4 percent to 54.4 percent as determined on a solids basis;

2. Pentanoic acid, 4,4-bis [(gamma-omega-perfluoro-C8-20-alkyl)thio] derivatives, compounds with diethanolamine (CAS Reg. No. 71608-61-2); andShow citation box

3. Perfluoroalkyl substituted phosphate ester acids, ammonium salts formed by the reaction of 2,2-bis[([gamma], [omega]-perfluoro C4-20 alkylthio) methyl]-1,3-propanediol, polyphosphoric acid and ammonium hydroxide.

The FDA contends "there is no longer a reasonable uncertainty of no harm from the food contact use" of the substances. The FDA points to the biopersistence, or the accumulation of the chemicals the body isn't able to remove completely.

The petition for the change cites potential reproductive and developmental risk described by the FDA in a 2010 review.

The rule is effective as of Monday, though objections can be filed through Feb. 3.

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