Commonly used ingredient under 'cancer-causing' investigation

The warning signs have been there, and some experts have been suggesting a change but it might be a new study into the additive Titanium dioxide or E171 that finally gets action.

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The additive is a very commonly used ingredient in lollies, biscuits, gum, and sauces for its ability to whiten and brighten food.  It is also used in some sunscreen and cosmetics.  However, a new study has shown that the nanoparticles of the additive could interfere with your immune system and possible cause cell damage leading to some cancers.

The French National Institute for Agricultural Research published their study in the journal Nature that shows, for the first time, that these nanoparticles of titanium dioxide is absorbed by the intestines and passed into the blood after eating.  The test, which in rats, shows that after 100 days of oral doses, in quantities that would reflect regular human consumption, there was a rise in normal cells becoming cancer cells in 40-percent of the animals.

In France, these findings have been taking to the health board for further study with the results expected in March.  However, here in Australia, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand claim they are “currently undertaking a review of its findings” in reference to the study.  This goes against their decade’s long opinion that there is “little evidence” to support other’s claims against the additive. 

An FNANZ spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald, “Titanium dioxide has long been known to contain nanoparticles, and these will have been present in the material used in the toxicity tests that supported approval of titanium dioxide as a food additive”.  They added, “This new study needs to be considered alongside all the available evidence relating to the safety of titanium dioxide in food”.

While many are still deciding the next step in the process, there have already been four food processors and retails in France that has announced they will no longer be using the additive in their products.  At this time so such announcement has been made by any Australian manufacture.

What do you think?  Will you be looking at labels to try and avoid this additive in the future or do you think more evidence is needed before and changes needs to happen?