It has taken more than a decade, but Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which was used to make Teflon and linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and thyroid disease, has finally been completely phased out of production. But hold the champagne, because the chemicals harnessed to replace PFOA, known as PFASs, are now added to thousands of products, such as microwave popcorn bags, camping tents, carpet cleaners—and the box containing your pizza. That box is likely covered in a clear coating to keep grease from soaking through the cardboard. As it turns out, the coating has been linked to birth defects and cancer. The FDA finally required all food-contact surfaces to eliminate PFASs in January. But we don’t know anything about the latest replacement chemical. If past history is any guide, you may want to keep it away from your food.
What you can do: Ask for your take-out pizza slice in foil, not a box, and in general, avoid non-stick, grease-proof products. And for pizza, consider this: If you make it yourself with store-bought dough and sauce from a jar, it will be on the dinner table faster, taste fresher, and save you money. Now that’s appetizing.