Spotlight October 2022: The titanium dioxide debate – why the current ECHA and EFSA hazard classification should be questioned

Home > Spotlight October 2022: The titanium dioxide debate – why the current ECHA and EFSA hazard classification should be questioned

Due to various reports and scientific studies, titanium dioxide (TiO2)was also banned in Europe this year (2022) for use as a food additive with the indication that it could possibly be carcinogenic to humans. Although no case of tumour induction in humans has been reported since the use of this material in micro but also nano size in many products (included in paints as a white pigment for more than 80 years and permitted in foodstuffs in Europe since 2008) the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have concluded that the evidence would be sufficient to apply a new classification.

However, the British Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC) and Health Canada disagree and continue to classify TiO2 as harmless because they consider the evidence from the submitted reports to be inconclusive and inapplicable.

The two here presented recent publications now comment on this new classification in Europe and come to the conclusion that this classification must be reconsidered, as there is no evidence for such a direct genotoxic effect of TiO2 in consumer products, would thus follow the British and Canadian example. The example of TiO2 makes it clear how important it is in the future to carry out toxicological tests exactly according to protocol and thus produce high-quality and comprehensible “FAIR” results (cf. Spotlights September 2022 and August 2021).

 

Original publications:

  • Driscoll, K.E. (2022). Review of Lung Particle Overload, Rat Lung Cancer, and the Conclusions of the Edinburgh Expert Panel-It’s Time to Revisit Cancer Hazard Classifications for Titanium Dioxide and Carbon Black. Front Public Health 10, 907318
  • Kirkland, D., Aardema, M.J., Battersby, R.V., Beevers, C., Burnett, K., Burzlaff, A., Czich, A., Donner, E. M., Fowler, P., Johnston, H.J., Krug, H.F., Pfuhler, S., Stankowski, L.F. (2022). A weight of evidence review of the genotoxicity of titanium dioxide (TiO₂). Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, in press, journal pre-proof
Spotlight October 2022: The titanium dioxide debate – why the current ECHA and EFSA hazard classification should be questioned

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