Titanium Dioxide in Food: Safe or Not?

foods with titanium dioxide

What is titanium dioxide in food? Titanium dioxide is a white dye, titanium white, moreover, it is de carcinogen.

At the same time, for an obvious reason (this is a white food coloring), it is found in a huge number of products: from cosmetics to capsule shells.

Information about this additive has been spread recently. Hope we’ll help you to understand this issue!

Concerns about Titanium Dioxide in Food

titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide E171 was banned in France in 2019. Hemophobia supporters triumphed: “You see, there is a harmful E-additive! And everyone used it calmly. And this is POISON“. 

Confectioners all over the world howled: how is it, now you can’t have dioxide in cakes? And at the same time, it is impossible to use toothpaste, sunscreens, plastics, paints, etc.

So what happened?

The titanium dioxide formula is TiO2. If the word “titanium” seems too “chemical” and harsh to you, remember that titanium is used for making implants for humans. Titanium is surprisingly inert and generally not rejected by the human body. And yes, titanium dioxide occurs naturally in the form of minerals. In the food industry, it is used as a colorant, and even has code E171. This substance is loved by pastry chefs for its beautiful white color. And here is such a “pitfall”!

IARC classification

titanium dioxide as sunscreen

In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC classified titanium dioxide as a “Group 2B carcinogen”. We are not hysterical viewers of federal channels. And we evaluate the information critically and consistently.

2B are possible human carcinogens. This group includes substances for which there is no evidence of harm to humans. But for the animals, they proved the harm. Or vice versa: the animals have failed to cause cancer, but there is limited evidence of harm to humans. In short – it is not clear yet, but let’s play it safe.

Group 2B also includes ginkgo biloba extract, a favorite supplement of manufacturers. And aloe vera whole leaf extract. But have you seen an article on the dangers of aloe vera at least once? I suppose no.

More interesting is next. The IARC was based on the fact that high (!) Concentrations of dust (!) titanium dioxide, when inhaled by rats (!), caused cancer. That is, the rats breathed in a suspension of dioxide in a frenzied amount.

I will quote the chemist Sergei Belkov, known for his caustic analysis of myths: “Everything in the world causes cancer, you just need to create suitable conditions.” If you are not a production worker, my advice is: do not breathe in the suspension of titanium dioxide.

There have also been studies on mice and small samples of people. And they came out rather clumsy:

women care
  • they feed the mice with titanium dioxide in such a concentration that to repeat the experiment, we need to eat 35 kg of food-stained with E171 per day.
  • they analyze the tissues of drug addicts who injected titanium dioxide into a vein.

Another tip of the day: don’t let the E171 run through your veins.

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) in 2016 said something like, “Not convincing. We believe that E171 can be used in food.

The FDA also shrugged its shoulders melancholy and agreed: “It’s all bullshit except bees. Don’t force your brain about E171. “

The Hard Fate of Titanium Dioxide in Food


However, in 2019, France became the first country to legally ban E171. Not least because of environmental pollution. Titanium dioxide is included in sunscreens, cosmetics, building materials. And, for the most part, we are talking about nanoparticles.

Titanium dioxide has been widely used in industry since the mid-20th century. But in the form of nanoparticles, it began to be used relatively recently. And now, alarming, albeit incomplete, information has accumulated on nanoparticles.

At first, several large companies expounded on titanium dioxide. Because it’s easier to say in advance, “We don’t use it, we are good,” than to get rid of eco-activists in 10 years—proactivity, and so on.

And in 2019, France adopted a law on a temporary suspension (not forever and ever, as the media write) of the use of E171 in food.

Oh, how many then there were articles with flashy titles, “A well-known food additive causes death,” listing exactly how you will die from titanium dioxide.

We see a mixture of mega-precaution and business concerns. It’s easier to refuse than a substitute. It is possible that the rest of Europe will catch up with France. And it would seem like: “Well, we will find another substance for food, tablets, sunscreens.” But I am extremely confused by the fragility of the arguments and the lack of evidence.

Similar cases from the past

The situation with the ban of E171 in France also resembles the California law, the so-called Proposition 65. This is the law on hazardous toxic substances. When you buy a cup of cappuccino in California, you get a cute warning about carcinogens in coffee. It’s about acrylamide, which is formed during heat treatment. Be the potatoes in a frying pan, bread at the bakery, roasted chocolate, or coffee beans.

Formaldehyde is also on this firing list. Considering that in the process of metabolism, we all produce a small amount of internal (endogenous) formaldehyde, I propose an initiative: we hang a sign on the person “Caution! Contains a potential carcinogen.”

Analogies also come to mind with the ban on GMOs in many countries. “Let’s ban it. Yes, there is little evidence of harm, and the potential benefits are enormous. But people are worried. And the deputies don’t like the three-letter word ”.

Due to excessive precaution, we literally slow down the development of science. Everything, absolutely any new discovery/solution/substance has risks.



We cannot exclude the possibility that E171 is terribly dangerous, and all previous studies were done blindly and under pressure from reptilians. Perhaps we were all wrong. If you are prone to anxiety, do not buy anything with the E171. But in this case, it would be fair to avoid sunlight (solar radiation is a recognized carcinogen), to leave the city away from exhaust emissions, to carefully eat everything natural (oh yes, natural food also contains carcinogens: from ochratoxins to lead). And do not drink alcohol: ethanol is an absolute carcinogen for a person from group 1.

It’s ridiculous to be afraid of the harm of some kind of food additive, but absolutely forget about a hundred other risks that lie in wait everywhere.

I will quote the doctor A. Vodovozov: “IARC stated that there is only one non-carcinogenic substance in the world – it is caprolactam: women’s tights are made of it. All other substances are carcinogenic to one degree or another ”.

Evaluate information soundly and from different points of view. My point of view as a chemist is extremely simple: I will not avoid E171 in food, I will not stop brushing my teeth and using sunscreen. Everything is poison, and everything is medicine, remember!


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