Large amounts of titanium dioxide are produced every year. This ingredient helps add brightness and whiteness to various products. It also helps them resist discoloration. Additionally, it also helps reflect UV light. As a result of this, it is used in many commercial sunscreen formulas.
Approximately 70% of titanium dioxide is used as a pigment in paints. That’s not all, it is also used in food, paper, pharmaceutical drugs, toothpastes and cosmetics.
Although titanium dioxide is believed to be a relatively safe ingredient, many products are currently using titanium dioxide nanoparticles.
In fact, nanoparticles are ultramicroscopic in size, which allows them to readily enter your skin and go to your blood vessels and bloodstream.
Certain nanoparticles may have a toxic effect on your brain and contribute to nerve damage. Also, some nanoparticles may act as carcinogenic agents.
Titanium dioxide is classified as a Group 2B carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In other words, this ingredient is possibly carcinogenic to humans. According to an animal study, inhaling high amounts of titanium dioxide dust could result in lung cancer development.
Titanium Dioxide Is Added to Food
Researchers have found that chewing gum, candies, and sweets possess the highest concentrations of titanium dioxide. Mayonnaise, white powdered doughnuts, bread, gums with hard shells, candies, products with white icing, yogurt and dairy products may also possess this ingredient.
Moreover, an analysis of titanium dioxide exposure through foods showed that children receive the highest levels of exposure (2-4 times more compared to adults) as it is used in sweets. Believe it or not, only a small number of the products tested in a study listed this ingredient on the label.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to use about 1% food-grade titanium dioxide without having to list it on product labels.
Even though many titanium particles added to food products aren’t nanoparticles, some are nanoparticles. Namely, Environmental Science and Technology published research suggesting that about 36% of the titanium dioxide present in 90 different food products was a nanoparticle.
It is unknown what health risks could be associated with titanium dioxide nanoparticle ingestion, but research shows that there is actually cause for concern.
Cancer Research published an animal study showing that titanium dioxide nanoparticles could lead to inflammation, oxidative DNA damage, genotoxicity, and clastogenicity. This means that consuming food products that are packed with titanium dioxide nanoparticles may increase your risk of developing cancer and many other genetic disorders.
Exposure to Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Could Have a Negative Impact on Your Brain Health
Unfortunately, the use of nanoparticles is elevating quickly, and the titanium dioxide nanoparticles are actually the 2nd most produced engineered nanomaterial worldwide.
Most people are not familiar with the fact that titanium dioxide nanoparticles could move from the gastrointestinal tract or lungs to other organs.
In addition, animal studies have proven that animals exposed to high concentrations of this ingredient had a great build-up of nanoparticles in the brain. Furthermore, toxicity studies have found that the particles could interfere with brain cell function and viability.
A study confirmed that titanium dioxide nanoparticles could contribute to a reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential and a rise in reactive oxygen species generation, thus leading to mitochondrial damage.
What’s more, researchers concluded that exposure to these particles could elevate the risk of neurological dysfunction. Namely, the nanoparticles have been found to inhibit the action of astrocyte cells that help control dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters.
High exposure levels killed about 2/3 of such brain cells in 24 hours. This also harmed the mitochondria of cells, thus resulting in cell death.
The same study also showed that astrocyte cells that were not killed were left damaged. These cells were not able to absorb a neurotransmitter known as glutamate that may be implicated in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Many other studies have also proven that titanium dioxide nanoparticles could have hidden brain risks.
These Nanoparticles Are Present in Many Personal Care Products
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are present in personal care products like sunscreen and toothpaste. Also, small amounts of these nanoparticles are present in shaving creams, deodorants, shampoos, etc.
The use of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in commercial personal care products is also on the rise.
Approximately 1,300 metric tons were used in a wide array of personal care products in 2005. Nearly 5,000 metric tons were used in 2010. This amount is expected to continue elevating until at least 2025.
Even though many studies showed that titanium dioxide could not enter the skin, a study suggested that the nanoparticles may enter the outer skin layer depending on the skin and particle coating.
Here Is How to Avoid Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles:
As titanium dioxide nanoparticles are found in processed foods, you can avoid them by eating real food. You can avoid this toxic ingredient in your toothpaste, by preparing homemade toothpaste with coconut oil. You should also reduce your sunscreen use. Simply use it only when you will be in the sun for extended periods.
Also, look for non-nanoparticle titanium dioxide, which is guaranteed to be a non-nano variety.
- Schapiro, Mark. ”Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power”;
- Dadd, Debra. ”Toxic Free: How to Protect Your Health and Home from the Chemicals ThatAre Making You Sick”;