Does your pizza box contain toxic chemicals?

Environmentalists are calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban toxic chemicals often found in pizza boxes, sandwich wrappers and other food containers.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says toxic chemicals such as perchlorate and perfluorocarboxylates can slow the brain development of young children, harm the male reproductive system and cause cancer.

While U.S. manufacturers no longer use perfluorocarboxylates, or PFCs, in pizza boxes and other food containers, the FDA has no rules preventing foreign companies from doing so. So pizza boxes could be manufactured with PFCs in China or India and shipped here.


The NRDC is petitioning the FDA to ban perfluorocarboxylates altogether.

“FDA should swiftly ensure that these risky PFCs, which it has already asked domestic producers to stop using, aren’t sneaking into our food supply through pizza boxes or sandwich wrappers made overseas,” said Erik D. Olson, the NRDC's senior strategic director for health and food.

The NRDC is also petitioning the FDA to ban perchlorate, which is used in food containers.

“We already know that perchlorate is both toxic and widespread in food and the bodies of virtually all Americans, so adding more to packaging that can get into food is especially risky,” Olson said.