Titanium dioxide is toxic

Warning notice planned for titanium dioxide powder due to cancer risk

As a whitening agent, titanium dioxide is an all-rounder in the food and chemical industries. The white pigment has been used for decades. For example, it can be found in the following products - i.e. eaten, applied to the skin or inhaled:

  • toothpaste
  • suncream
  • Tablets
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Plaster, mortar
  • chewing gum
  • Mozzarella
  • fondant
  • white ready-made sauces
  • Road surface for better air

Recognize titanium dioxide in products: E 171 and CI 77891

In foodstuffs, titanium dioxide appears as a coloring agent with the designation E 171. The designation CI 77891 can be found in cosmetics, among other things.

EU Commission: Warning notice for titanium dioxide as powder

In the EU, experts discussed this week whether the white dye should be classified as carcinogenic. The EU Commission does not want to ban the substance, but titanium dioxide in powder form is to receive a warning about the risk of cancer in the future.

European Agency ECHA: If inhaled, the white pigment is carcinogenic

The Commission is thus following an assessment by the European chemicals agency ECHA from 2017: It states that titanium dioxide powder is carcinogenic if it is inhaled. The warning notice is to be formally adopted in October. It should take at least 20 months for this definition to apply.

France wants to ban titanium dioxide in food

Regardless of its use in lacquers, paints and building materials, there is also a debate on titanium dioxide in food at EU level. The European Union has not yet reached an agreement on this.

France bans titanium dioxide in food from 2020 due to health concerns. Due to a lack of data, a health risk cannot be ruled out. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment also stated in writing in May 2019: "There is still a need for research."

Toxicologist: "Ancient study" with very high concentrations

"This advance from France is surprising for everyone, especially for experts," said Dr. Harald F. Krug in the SWR: "Even for me as a toxicologist who has worked with titanium dioxide for decades, it is completely incomprehensible, because this effect, which is assigned to titanium dioxide here, is simply not specifically available."

He speaks of "ancient studies" which, according to today's ethical guidelines, should no longer be carried out in this way. Rats were exposed to high concentrations of titanium dioxide in the air for around two years. Inhaling so much of the dust for such a long time damages the lungs with chronic inflammation. However, mice from the same experiment would not have suffered from such effects.

BUND: Titanium dioxide questionable substance because of nano-small particles

Titanium dioxide is one of the most widely produced nano-minute particles. BUND's environmental expert, Rolf Buschmann, therefore classifies the substance as questionable because it could penetrate cells in this way. "When foods containing titanium dioxide are consumed, the titanium dioxide gets into the gastrointestinal tract," he explained in June in an ARD interview. Nanoparticles may be released in the intestine, and inflammatory reactions have been demonstrated in animal experiments.

“Studies that we have carried out, for example, have found eight percent nanoparticles in a chewing gum coating.” Buschmann's conclusion: “Titanium dioxide has no nutritional added value for us.” It should only make products more beautiful and shiny.