Toxic metals, such as titanium dioxide, are being added to our food and beauty products without us realizing just how dangerous they are.
Many of those have been linked to cancer and brain damage, so it’s important to know the dangers and what to look for on the labels. Titanium Dioxide is produced and added to products because it adds whiteness and brightness and helps stop discoloration. This product is often found in sun cream because it reflects UV light.
This product itself is considered safe, but the problem is that products are using titanium dioxide nanoparticles and this is something very different. It is often found in toothpaste, shampoo, sun cream, deodorant and shaving creams.
A nanoparticle is tiny, ultramicroscopic to be exact and this means it can easily penetrate the skin and get into your bloodstream. There is some evidence to suggest that these nanoparticles can cause toxic effects to the brain, cause nerve damage and can be carcinogenic (cancer-causing).
An international body of research on cancer has classified titanium dioxide as a ‘possible carcinogenic’ which they based this on animal research, whereby high concentrations of titanium dioxide were inhaled and could lead to lung cancer.
The effects on the brain by these nanoparticles can lead to negative brain cell viability and function. Researchers believe that exposure to the particles could lead to neurological dysfunction.
Is it dangerous in foods?
The big problem is that sweets and chewing gum are found to have the highest amounts of titanium dioxide, other foods such as bread, mayonnaise, and many other dairy products also could contain it.
An analysis conducted on titanium dioxide found that children were most exposed to it because of the quantity of the food that they eat and how much is added during the production process.
Processed foods tend to contain a lot of titanium dioxide, so the easiest way to avoid it is to avoid processed foods and try to eat fresh only.
The problem doesn’t really lie in using titanium dioxide in food products, it’s more the use of nanoparticles that can penetrate the skin and get into the bloodstream. The production of these nanoparticles has outpaced the research into the safety of them, so we are putting things into our bodies that we don’t really know enough about.
So how can we avoid titanium dioxide nanoparticles?
They are common in processed foods, so the easiest way to avoid them in food products is to cook from fresh. If you want to avoid them in your personal care products, try making your own toothpaste and deodorant (both can be easily done with ingredients in your kitchen cupboard).
Its most common use is in sun cream which is difficult to avoid if you live in a hot country or go on holiday a lot. Try to minimise your use of it, and stay out of the sun for as much as you can and only use it when going into the sun. If you can use natural shade and clothing to protect your skin from the sun.