NUTRITION&FOOD Published May2, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Health Trouble Can Come in Pizza Boxes

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Dominos Pizza Files To Go Public
(Photo : Joe Raedle | Getty Images News)

The pizza box is just as important as the pizza itself. Besides protecting the contents, it also helps trap heat, making sure those slices arrive hot and fresh. But scientists are getting worried.

On May 1, Friday, a group of scientists released a paper called the Madrid Statement in Environmental Health Perspectives journal of Environmental Working Group wherein they strongly expressed their concern over certain chemicals that are used in making pizza boxes. These are also found in other products such as furniture and bags for microwavable popcorn.

One of these components is called perfluorinated chemicals, which are also referred to as PFSAs and PFCs. According to a fact sheet published by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, PFCs are compounds that are found in hundreds of products in order to keep them more resistant to stains and water. In the case of the pizza boxes, PFCs are utilized to make them grease proof so the boxes remain solid and the pizza not saggy. The same substance is also found in cooking pans so they become non-sticky.

While they are helpful, many studies also found them to be harmful. When they are released into the environment, for example, they are broken down into certain by-products that can be toxic.

Although PFCs are not stored as a body fat, it will take several years before the toxins are removed from the body. By that time, they have already accumulated, and the chemical may have already altered the way the hormones work or decrease the person's immunity. Some animal-based researches also revealed how the compound can also cause damage to vital organs such as the pancreas and the liver. Moreover, they can lead to fertility problems.

The harm is a major concern that countries such as the United States and Australia have already stopped the manufacturing of PFCs and other related chemicals. 

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