Titanium dioxide, TiO2 or titanium (IV) oxide, is a titanium rust. Titanium is a transition metal with an atomic number of 22. It is a naturally occurring element originally discovered in small deposits in England in the late 1700’s. Titanium is a soft light grey malleable metal. When exposed to air it oxidizes, or rusts, just like iron. The titanium rust or titanium dioxide, is a white solid. One of the most sought after properties of this molecule is its ability to absorb ultraviolet light. This solid has traditionally been powdered to whiten everything from deodorant and toothpaste, to dairy goods and paint.
So why am I writing about it? Well, until recently, manufacturing techniques have only been capable of powdering this solid a specific fineness or particle size. TiO2 began being manufactured as a commercial whitening agent in 1923. (www.TDMA.info) Originally titanium dioxide could only be milled to pigment grade (PG) with a fineness of 200-350 nm. Advances in technology now allows manufacture of nanoparticles, particles under 100 nm, particles of a size to easily pass into the bloodstream through the gut, lungs, and skin. (Pele et al, 2015)
Manufacturers continue to insist that titanium dioxide is a safe nonreactive substance, stating, “…there have been no identified health concerns associated with its exposure among consumers or the general population.” (www.TDMA.info) However, the elevated exposure levels to titamium dioxide as pharmaceutical or cosmetic grade nanoparticles as opposed to pigment grade as in paints and other industrial applications raises cause for alarm. It has been shown that particles of TiO2 nanoparticles accumulate in tissues in the human body. One can be exposed to TiO2 nanoparticles orally through food (candy, gum, dairy products, toothpaste) inhalation through powdered cosmetics (talc, baby powder, blush) and through the skin (sunscreens, foundation creams). (Pele et al, 2015 and Shakeel et al, 2015) This accumulation appears to play a significant role in decreased immune function, oxidative stress, and includes links to cancer and gene disruption.
It is advised to limit exposure to all titanium dioxide nanoparticles as much as possible. Researchers have begun to determine the best way to remove or mitigate titanium dioxide from the human body. One study mentions curcumin may have an effect on how TiO2 nanoparticles effect the epithelial tissues of the skin and digestive tract. (Montiel-Davalos et al, 2017) while another indicates that several herbs including chlorella and cilantro may be helpful. (McClure. M)
HEXT, P. M., TOMENSON, J. A., & THOMPSON, P. (2005). Titanium Dioxide: Inhalation Toxicology and Epidemiology. Annals Of Occupational Hygiene, 49(6), 461-472. doi:10.1093/annhyg/mei012
Montiel-Dávalos, A., Silva Sánchez, G. J., Huerta-García, E., Rueda-Romero, C., Soca Chafre, G., Mitre-Aguilar, I. B., & … López-Marure, R. (2017). Curcumin inhibits activation induced by urban particulate material or titanium dioxide nanoparticles in primary human endothelial cells. Plos ONE, 12(12), 1-17. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0188169
Pele, L. C., Thoree, V., Bruggraber, S. F., Koller, D., Thompson, R. P., Lomer, M. C., & Powell, J. J. (2015). Pharmaceutical/food grade titanium dioxide particles are absorbed into the bloodstream of human volunteers. Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 12, 26. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12989-015-0101-9
Shakeel, M., Jabeen, F., Shabbir, S., Asghar, M. S., Khan, M. S., & Chaudhry, A. S. (2016). Toxicity of Nano-Titanium Dioxide (TiO2-NP) Through Various Routes of Exposure: a Review. Biological Trace Element Research, 172(1), 1-36. doi:10.1007/s12011-015-0550-x
Content retrieved from: https://amyrnielsen.wordpress.com/blog/.