Pizza boxes can increase risk of miscarriage by 16 times – study

Reuters / Mark Makela
A new study from Denmark has shown that everyday chemicals such as those contained in pizza boxes and other food packaging could increase the risk of spontaneous miscarriage by up to 16 times.

Of the 392 women participating in the study, 56 had miscarried. Scientists discovered that those who had suffered miscarriages had elevated levels of endocrine-disrupting polyflourinated alcylated substances (PFAS). The study was carried out by the University of Southern Denmark and the children’s health project Odense Child Cohort.

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PFAS are substances that make products water- and grease-resistant. They can be found in various products including pizza boxes and other food packaging, furniture, and sports clothing.

“It is packaging we use for food that is treated with fluorinated substances because it needs to be resistant to water and grease - for example, wax paper, pizza boxes and popcorn bags. <…> The problem is that they build up in the body and never really leave again,” consumer attorney Claus Jørgensen told media outlet Fyens Stiftstidende.

“These chemicals are often not listed because they aren’t in the food itself but in the packaging of fast coat or in coating of running clothes,” Tina Kold Jensen, one of the research leaders, told DR broadcaster. They are, thus, very difficult to avoid in everyday life.

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“We need to find out if these chemicals are dangerous. If they are, we need to have some legislation. It can’t be up to the individual consumer,” she added.

The substances can be extremely dangerous to unborn children, the level of the risk surprised the scientists.

“At first I did not believe it, for usually we find a half or two times greater risk, but 16 is much more than we expected,” Tina Kold Jensen, one of the research leaders, told Fyens Stiftstidende

The country’s environment minister, Kirsten Brosbøl, said that she had asked the Danish Environment Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen) to look into the matter, as the Danish people “should have fewer dangerous chemicals in <…> daily lives.”