TiO2 is a white solid inorganic substance that is thermally stable, non-flammable, poorly soluble, and not classified as hazardous according to the United Nations’ (UN) Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).
TiO2 use is ubiquitous in society. Most of the surfaces and items that are white in color contain TiO2. It is used in a vast range of industrial and consumer goods, including in sunscreen, cosmetics, paint, plastics, paper and wallpaper, food, and more.
Wide Range of Uses
TiO2 is used in a vast range of industrial and consumer goods, including in sunscreen, cosmetics, paint, plastics, paper and wallpaper, food, and more.
Titanium Dioxide Facts
Because of TiO2’s unique properties, there are many safe and beneficial characteristics of TiO2:
The Color White: As a pigment, TiO2 has excellent light-scattering properties and is used in a variety of applications that require white opacity and brightness.
UV Protection: It absorbs UV light. When TiO2 pigment is incorporated in a polymer, it can protect against fading, cracking, and weakening. Surface treating of the TiO2 can further improve this property.
Longevity: When used in a paint or coating system, TiO2 helps maintain the longevity of the paint and the continued protection of the painted surface.
Energy Savings: The brightness TiO2 can confer to light colored paints can, when compared to darker colors, reduce the energy needed to light the interiors of buildings. In exterior applications the coolness conferred by TiO2 colored surfaces can lead to considerable energy savings in warm and tropical area by light reflectance that can reduce the need for air-conditioning.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assessed the safety of titanium dioxide pigment as a color additive in food, drug and cosmetic applications. FDA had issued guidance clarifying the safe use of titanium dioxide pigment as a food colorant, and has stated that titanium dioxide may be safely used in cosmetics, including cosmetics intended for use around the eye. FDA also regulates the safety and effectiveness of sunscreens and their ingredients, including nanoscale titanium dioxide.
Uses & Benefits
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assessed the safety of titanium dioxide pigment as a color additive in food, drug and cosmetic applications, and as an ingredient in sunscreen products. FDA has also issued guidance clarifying the safe use of titanium dioxide pigment as a food colorant, and has stated that titanium dioxide may be safely used in cosmetics, including cosmetics intended for use around the eye.
Titanium dioxide is included in FDA’s list of acceptable active ingredients in sunscreen products. According to FDA, active ingredients in sunscreen such as titanium dioxide protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified titanium dioxide as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on studies that showed increased lung tumors in rats associated with titanium dioxide inhalation. However, extensive studies on titanium dioxide industry workers do not suggest an association between occupational exposure to titanium dioxide and an increased risk for cancer in humans.
Pigment-grade titanium dioxide is manufactured at a specific particle size distribution to optimize the scattering of visible light and enhance surface opacity. Titanium dioxide is produced primarily in the pigmentary form (over 98 percent of total production), which makes use of its excellent light-scattering properties for a range of applications that require opacity and brightness.
Titanium dioxide nanomaterials are purposefully made in a much smaller particle size distribution than pigmentary particles and are transparent and more effective as UV absorbers or photocatalysts. The transparency and UV absorbance allow for effective use as a protective ingredient for sunscreens.
Titanium dioxide is often used to impart whiteness to food products, cosmetics and personal care items, like toothpaste. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assessed the safety of titanium dioxide as a color additive and has issued regulations approving the ingredient for these purposes.