Classifying titanium dioxide as a carcinogen ignores scientific evidence, according to Center for Accountability in Science
WASHINGTON, June 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- On Friday, a committee with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), disregarded decades of human health data in concluding that inhaled titanium dioxide should be classified [https://echa.europa.eu/-/titanium-dioxide-proposed-to-be-classified-as-suspected-of-causing-cancer-when-inhaled] as a carcinogen. Dr. Joseph Perrone, chief science officer at the Center for Accountability in Science [https://www.accountablescience.com/], released the following statement in response:
"As the executing force behind the European Union's chemical safety program, ECHA's decision to list titanium dioxide as a suspected carcinogen shirks the agency's obligation to uphold the highest standards of scientific thought.
"Titanium dioxide, a mineral which lends bright whiteness and UV protection to everything from iPhones to paints and sunscreens, has benefited consumer products for more than 100 years. Decades of human health data cannot uphold the notion that titanium dioxide causes cancer in humans."
Dr. Perrone's statement echoes a video released by the Center for Accountability in Science, titled, "Is Titanium Dioxide Harmful to Your Health? [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCCAdMisc9s]" The video can be viewed in English HERE [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCCAdMisc9s] and French HERE [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMIO319HKFE].
Below, three points briefly summarize flaws in labeling titanium dioxide as a carcinogen:
ECHA's decision ignores its own established scientific standards. The only studies able to show tumor initiation exposed rats to titanium dioxide under extreme "overload" conditions - akin to what one might experience chronically breathing a cloud of soot. Inferring carcinogenicity from overload studies is contrary to current European Chemicals Agency guidelines because such conditions are not predictive of human health outcomes.
Robust human data refutes the notion that inhaled titanium dioxide causes cancer. Occupational surveys following thousands of industrial workers exposed to high levels of airborne titanium dioxide reveal no increased mortality from cancer, even after decades of intense exposure. A European study tying titanium dioxide to lung cancer - the only study to reach such a conclusion - did not control for smoking.
The absence of titanium dioxide could harm consumers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration permits titanium dioxide as one of only two "natural" UV-blocking ingredients in sunscreen. Market pressure to remove titanium dioxide risks exposing consumers to less safe alternatives. Available substitutes do not perform as well, requiring greater amounts of whitening or UV-blocking agents and resulting in a greater degree of exposure.
For more information, see the Center for Accountability in Science research brief, "5 Things You Should Know About Titanium Dioxide [https://www.accountablescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/5Things_Titanium_Dioxide-1.pdf]."
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