Titanium dioxide is a white powdery inorganic compound that’s used to brighten pigments in nonfoods such as paints and plastics as well as consumables such as pharmaceuticals and foods, according to the Titanium Dioxide Manufacturer’s Association. It’s what helps make Skittles’ famous rainbow really “pop,” per Dayton247now. The TDMA claims that titanium dioxide is nontoxic. And while that may be true as a technical matter, it does not mean that ingesting titanium dioxide won’t have long-term health consequences. In fact, titanium dioxide is suspected to be potentially harmful to humans because it’s incredibly small. That nanoscopic structure could allow it to breach the blood-brain barrier (via Forbes).
It’s not known whether and to what extent ingestion of titanium dioxide may be associated with negative health outcomes, but significant concerns have been raised by credible sources in recent years. “Limited research” on animals suggests that it could play a role in the development of lung cancers, according to Healthline. More importantly, Mars committed to removing titanium dioxide from its food products by 2021, according to an October 2016 press release from the Center for Food Safety.
“Studies have shown that the human health risks associated with ingesting nanoparticles of many common food additives far outweigh any utility for producers,” the CFS said at the time. In fact, the European Union has banned titanium dioxide’s use in foods effective August 7, 2022, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
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