Titanium Dioxide: You’re Eating It and You Probably Don’t Know It
Would you scoop up a big spoonful of the powder in this picture and chug it down with a big glass of milk? Whether you know it or not, you probably have. Think powder sugared donuts. The picture is a pile of Titanium Dioxide. The USDA and the FDA consider it safe as a food additive. In March 2020, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) no longer considers it safe to be eaten.
What is Titanium Dioxide (Ti02 or E171)? This chemical is used to whiten the color of foods to make it easier to dye them into colors that make food more visually appealing. If you shop at farmer’s markets, you probably notice that their food doesn’t look the same as what you buy at grocery stores. Farmers do not dye their food leaving their color in a natural state. Food that you buy at corporate grocery chains has been naturally dyed so that it looks better. Presumably, psychologically more visually appealing food prompts you to buy. Titanium dioxide is used mainly in candy, coffee creamers, cake mixes and frosting and chewing gum. This additive not only makes packaged foods more visually attractive, it also improves shelf life.
Europe started looking at Ti02 more closely in 2016 after reevaluating food additives that were authorized in 2009. The EFSA requested new studies to be able to fill gaps in food additive knowledge and possible reproductive system effects. The EFSA published a statement in 2019 specifically regarding titanium oxide based on data performed by the French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Heath Safety.
In part, here is the statement from the EFSA:
“Based on all the evidence available, a concern for genotoxicity could not be ruled out, and given the many uncertainties, the Panel concluded that E 171 can no longer be considered as safe when used as a food additive.”
To put it in plain language, the EFSA no longer considers titanium dioxide safe for human consumption based on the concern that this food additive may damage DNA. Meaning, your genes.
In the United States, the Environmental Working Group has identified titanium dioxide in around 3000 processed foods and has asked the FDA to consider banning it as a food additive.
Here is a list of the 20 foods highest in titanium oxide from Arizona State University as of 2011:
Although toxicity of ingested titanium dioxide is rare, there can be some side effects of ingesting large amounts. These include gastrointestinal upset characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea as well as an increased risk of kidney stones and iron toxicity for those with renal or iron metabolism disorders. The USDA and FDA do not routinely review the safety of food ingredients except for those that are certified organic products. The USDA reviews the food additives in certified organic products every five years.
The use of titanium dioxide as a food additive is only part of its claim to fame. It is the main raw material used in alkyd resin (which is used for paint binding) and oil based paint. It is also used in plastifiers to create resistance to heat/cold, an additive to lubricants, petroleum antifreeze agents, emulsifiers, stabilization of polyvinyl chloride, fire retardants, fire resistant painting and printing ink.
Titanium oxide is widely used in the industries of water soluble and solvent based paint, plastic coatings, rubber, cosmetics, waxed paper, high quality paper, leather finishes, ceramics, toothpaste and along with zinc oxide, it is considered safe as an ingredient in sunscreens lotions. Yum! That makes you want to buy a box of Ti02 and sprinkle it on all your food doesn’t it?
Notice cosmetics in the list above. The last time a federal law was passed regulating cosmetics was in 1938.
So how do you avoid the potential DNA effects of titanium dioxide in your food and protect yourself? First, don’t buy and eat prepackaged and processed food.
Embark on a strategy of eating mainly whole foods that are grown in nature. I’m not saying you can never eat prepackaged food (although you could), just do so in moderation. When choosing processed and prepackaged food, look for the organic label.
Maximize your intake of whole foods like vegetables, fruit, eggs (the perfect food), meats from local farmers, nuts. Basically anything that can be grown in nature.
Here is a link
If you need help with what, when, how and why to eat, book a consult at healthwithoutrisk.com or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll go through your health history and guide you in the right direction. I’ll motivate you to take control and power over your health so you can age gracefully and feel more youthful.
#eatrealfood #foodadditives #foodsafety #titaniumdioxide #wholefoods #healthfoods
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EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings FAF, Younes M, Aquilina G et al. Safety
assessment of titanium dioxide (E171) as a food additive. EFSA J. 2021. [link]