What is titanium oxide

E 171: titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide - what is it?

Titanium dioxide is a food coloring. It has the European approval number E 171. The white powder is light, heat and acid resistant, but does not dissolve in liquids. That is why it is distributed in the form of tiny particles in the respective product.

Titanium oxide gives a brilliant white color, as the light is completely scattered in the pigment particles. The white color can also be varied: with the dye iron oxide (E 172), for example, brownish shades are obtained.

Titanium dioxide is obtained by means of a chemical reaction with naturally occurring titanium iron ore (ilmenite).

The body cannot utilize E 171, it is excreted undigested.

Where is titanium dioxide used?

In principle, titanium dioxide can be used for all foods for which the addition of additives is permitted. However, it must be shown in the list of ingredients. It must not be used for untreated foods and those that, according to the legislature, should not be changed. The EC organic regulation stipulates, for example, that colorings are prohibited in organic foods.

The whitening agent titanium dioxide is mainly used in the following food products:

Titanium oxide is also used for toothpaste. However, it doesn't whiten your teeth, just the paste. And that's not all: the tiny particles in this dental care product also serve as an abrasive to remove deposits on the teeth.

In addition to dental care, titanium dioxide is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, sun protection products and paints.

Titanium dioxide - is it a concern?

The dye titanium dioxide is classified as harmless. For this reason, no “Acceptable Daily Intake” (ADI value), i.e. a permitted daily dose, is specified.

There is evidence that E 171 can cause cancer if inhaled. Then it can lodge in the lungs. A few percent of the nanoparticles also get into the rest of the body, where they don't break down even after several weeks.

To date, there is no evidence that titanium dioxide, which is ingested orally, has similar or harmful effects at all. And the investigations with inhaled titanium oxide were only carried out with rats. Even scientists therefore assume that only extremely high doses could be harmful - but these are hardly to be expected in the body.

If you still want to be absolutely sure, you should bring products with you Titanium dioxide avoid, so study the list of ingredients accordingly and, in case of doubt, resort to organic products in which artificial colors are completely prohibited.

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