The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just implemented a new ruling that will ban the use of chemicals used in the packaging material for various popular food items such as pizza and microwaveable popcorn.
According to the agency, these chemicals can lead to the development of cancer and birth defects.
In a recent report released by the FDA, it named three kinds of perfluoroalky ethyl food-contact substances (FCS) that will be included in the ban. The agency noted that these chemicals, which are diethanolamine salts, pentanoic acid and perflouroalkyl substituted phosphate ester acids, are used in paper and cardboard-based packaging containers to prevent water or oil from the food from damaging the boxes or bags, according to CBS Local.
In other words, these ensure that the grease from popcorn or pizza slices do not leak out of their containers.
According to the FDA, the decision to ban these chemicals was made in response to a petition launch by various health-advocate groups including the Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety and Children's Environmental Health Network.
In the petition, the various organizations cited a study carried out by the FDA in 2010 which revealed that these chemicals and impede proper fetal and newborn development. In addition, the study also noted that these chemicals contain carcinogenic properties.
The toxicologists of the agency then said that there are currently no studies proving that the contact between food and these chemicals will not lead to serious health complications.
"In the absence of data specific to the three FCSs to address reproductive and development toxicity, adequate migration data to determine dietary exposure to the FCSs from the food-contact use, and sufficient data to account for a consumer's systemic exposure resulting from chronic dietary exposure to these FCSs, we conclude that there is no longer a reasonable certainty of no harm for the food contact use of these FCSs," the FDA wrote in the report.
The FDA said that the new ruling was officially implemented on January 40 but companies who use or produce packaging materials containing these chemicals still have 30 days to comply. Those who would like to object to the ban may submit requests for hearings or complaints to the FDA until February 3.