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Titanium dioxide (aka E171) is an odorless, synthetic chemical that is used to make foods look bright white or opaque. It’s linked to cancer.
Titanium Dioxide is also used to extend the shelf life of food products. Titanium Dioxide is often found in milk, supplements, chewing gum, candies, chocolates, pastries, coffee creamer, and cake decorations.
How Is It Harmful?
In the US, the FDA sets a limit on how much can be used in food: no more than 1% titanium dioxide. It is banned in Europe as of 2021, as the European Food Safety Authority no longer considers it safe when used as a food additive.
Exposure to titanium dioxide can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. It has been labeled a “possible carcinogen” and has also been found to be genotoxic, which means it causes damage to your DNA. Titanium dioxide can build up in your body over time because the body doesn’t excrete it well.
Potential Health Impacts
Animal studies link titanium dioxide to lung cancer and show that titanium dioxide is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Additionally, several studies show that titanium dioxide is genotoxic, which means it can damage your DNA and cause cells to mutate.
According to this study, the long-term safety concerns of accumulated titanium dioxide are particularly relevant for children, who may consume higher amounts of titanium dioxide than adults relative to their body size. This publication showed that children are likely receiving the highest exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles because they tend to consume more candy than adults.
National Library of medicine
Journal of Nanobiotechnology