Widely used U.S. food additive banned in the EU linked to cancer, DNA damage
(NaturalHealth365) Children’s Health Defense describes titanium dioxide as “the most widely used whitening pigment in the world.” But whitening properties aren’t the only impact of this common additive.
In fact, titanium dioxide has been associated with a wide variety of adverse health outcomes, including gut inflammation, cancer, and genotoxicity – also known as the capacity to cause chromosomal and DNA damage. But despite this, American manufacturers are still allowed to use it frequently.
BANNED in the European Union, this food additive is EVERYWHERE in the United States
According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a naturally occurring fine white powder. In addition to being used in cosmetics (typically found in things like sunscreens, toothpaste, and pressed and loose powders), this compound is also used as a food coloring and whitening agent for everything from ice cream to bread, coffee creamer to white sauces, and candies to chewing gum.
But while it may be useful from an aesthetic standpoint, titanium dioxide has some serious potential downsides. For example, two papers published earlier this year in Environmental Research and Environmental Pollution note that titanium dioxide nanoparticles, when consumed, have been shown to trigger gut inflammation and dysregulation of healthy gut bacteria – both of which could be contributing to the widespread issues of metabolic derangement and obesity.
In addition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the compound as a possible carcinogen (Group 2B), a category that includes progesterone-only contraceptives, radiofrequency magnetic fields emitted from cell phones, naphthalene (a key ingredient found in mothballs), and even certain professional industries including textile manufacturing, dry cleaning, and carpentry. When ingested, titanium dioxide has been shown to quickly enter the bloodstream, where it can cause genotoxic effects on cells, potentially giving rise to everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.
In light of this and other news, many countries have taken a strong stand against the widespread use of titanium dioxide. The compound was outright banned as a food additive in 2020 in France. In 2022, the European Union followed suit – 27 countries that no longer consider titanium dioxide safe for human consumption, thanks to the preponderance of data.
Not so for U.S. manufacturers, however.
Avoid these products if you want to avoid titanium dioxide
The United States historically lags behind its European neighbors in banning many food additives linked to harmful health outcomes. It follows that titanium dioxide has NOT been banned yet in our country and that it’s actually used quite commonly here.
While the dose of any given additive certainly influences how harmful it can be, we do know that the standard American diet is HIGH in heavily processed foods that are filled with compounds like titanium dioxide … which means it is likely that many Americans are unknowingly exposing themselves to a significant amount of this potentially harmful compound.
Here are some popular items at your grocery store right now that are known to contain titanium dioxide:
- Trident gum
- Duncan Hines Creamy Vanilla Frosting
- Nabisco Chips Ahoy! cookies
- CoverGirl Clean Pressed powder
- Maybelline Fit Me concealer
- Colgate toothpaste
Who knows when or whether the United States will step up and ban this and other harmful products from our consumer goods? In the meantime, if you’re concerned, here’s our suggestion:
Go through your pantry and medicine cabinet and clear out any products that contain titanium dioxide, TiO2, or E171 (a common label for when it’s used as a food coloring) on its ingredients list. Change your buying habits, read labels, and make sure processed foods are eliminated or make up a very small part of your regular diet.
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