Harmful Ingredients

Is Titanium Dioxide Considered A Clean Ingredient?

March 17, 2023

Titanium dioxide has made recent headlines in the news, and it seems to have made a controversial mark. 

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a naturally occurring mineral that is widely used as a white pigment in products such as paints, coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, and cosmetics. Many consider it to be generally safe, however, in recent years, there have been growing concerns about the safety of using TiO2 in food. Here, we will explore the potential harmful effects of TiO2 in food and the controversy surrounding its use.

Which Food Products Contain Titanium Dioxide?

Some popular food products that may contain TiO2 as an ingredient include:

Many other processed foods may also contain TiO2, as well.

Why is Titanium Dioxide a Controversial Ingredient?

Titanium Dioxide, TiO2 is generally considered to be safe for use in food products, however, concerns have been raised about the potential negative health effects of inhaling TiO2 dust. Studies in animals have suggested that inhaling large amounts of TiO2 dust may lead to lung irritation and inflammation, and long-term exposure to TiO2 dust may lead to the development of lung fibrosis. While the risk of inhaling TiO2 dust from food products is low, some experts have raised concerns about the risks of inhaling TiO2 dust in occupational settings, such as manufacturing plants.

Another concern is the potential negative effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on human cells and on the environment. Some studies suggest that TiO2 nanoparticles may be able to penetrate cells and cause genetic damage, however, more research is needed to better understand these effects. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the potential negative effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on the environment, particularly in aquatic systems.

Why Is Titanium Dioxide Banned In Some Countries?

In response to these concerns, the European Union (EU) banned the use of TiO2 as a food additive in 2020. The EU's decision to ban the use of TiO2 as a food additive is based on concerns about the potential negative health effects of inhaling TiO2 dust and the potential negative effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on human cells and on the environment. Other countries have not yet followed EU's move, and TiO2 continues to be used as a food additive in most countries.

Due to the concerns of health and environmental impact, some companies have started using alternative whitening agents, such as natural mineral or plant-based sources.

Does Wake Up and Read the Labels Consider Titanium Dioxide a Clean Ingredient?

Because of the reasons listed above, Wake Up and Read the Labels prefers to avoid the ingredient Titanium Dioxide. It’s unnecessarily used and provides no added health benefit, and there are potential risks associated with consuming it. 

We have scoured the grocery store aisles to find foods made with real ingredients and without unnecessary food additives, and there are plenty of options available to you. If you’re interested in learning more, book a call with a food coach to discuss how we can help you get started.


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Here at Wake Up and Read The Labels, we help people learn how to read ingredient labels on the food they eat. We are not licensed, medical professionals. We are here to educate. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

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