National Geographic: These Chemicals in Pizza Boxes and Carpeting Last Forever


Bottlenose dolphins swimming in a South Carolina harbor, polar bears lumbering across Greenland’s ice sheets, and families inhabiting Ohio River Valley towns share a common secret: Their bodies contain high levels of industrial chemicals that most people have never heard of but are widely used in consumer products.

These perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have been used to manufacture many microwave popcorn bags, carpets, fast-food wrappers, pizza boxes, camping gear, and cookware. While they are designed to make things nonstick, some of these compounds stick around in the environment—they are expected to last in nature for thousands of years.

On Friday, a statement signed by more than 200 scientists from 38 countries was published, documenting the threats PFCs may pose to human health and the environment…

Lindsay Konkel