Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a widely used substance, appearing in many commercially available products. It is also used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Depending on the production grade, titanium dioxide has a variety of properties.
As a chemical additive, titanium dioxide is commonly found in pigment and sunscreen products. It is also used in anti-fogging surfaces, protective coatings and as an insulator. In addition, titanium dioxide can absorb UV light, which makes it useful for cancer therapy. Adding TiO2 to windows, concrete and other surfaces can help improve energy efficiency.
However, a recent food safety review raised concerns about the potential adverse health effects of titanium dioxide. The European Commission is considering more stringent regulation for the food industry. This action will be enforced through a pesticide registration process.
In the United Kingdom, dietary exposure of titanium dioxide was estimated to be about two mg per kilogram of body weight per day for children under 10 years and one mg/kg per day for other age groups. Non-dietary exposures were estimated to be about one to two milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day for children and adults.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that exposure to titanium dioxide is not carcinogenic. However, the EPA will not register pesticides with concentrations of titanium dioxide higher than 45% by weight. The EPA will also not register pesticides for use on pre-harvest crops.
Titanium dioxide is regulated at both national and international levels. There are various sources of titanium dioxide, including ilmenite ore and rutile. The sulfate process is the most common method for producing the pigment.