In May, the French National Assembly passed an amendment to ban the use, import and sale of any food containing titanium dioxide (TiO2) as food additive, and according to this amendment, the ban of food grade TiO2 will be complete by the end of 2018.
Food grade titanium dioxide is a white, non-toxic and odorless powder, which is insoluble in water, solvents, acid and alkali, stable in performance, and has whitening effect on food.
Thanks to its characteristics, titanium dioxide is a widely used chemical product in plastic, cosmetic, paint and so on. In food industry, it has an E number of E171, and it is usually used as the brightener in this field, especially in candy and sauce.
But in January of 2017, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) put forward that titanium dioxide E171 may has some potential dangers, and proposed European Chemical Agency (ECHA) to classify it as a substance that may cause cancer by inhalation.
And the other reason to ban TiO2 as the food additive is that they think as a brightener, this additive is not an essential food ingredient, and they are trying to find some alternatives for it, such as the rice starch and the calcium carbonate.
Until now, except for France, other countries are still using the titanium dioxide E171 as one of the principal food additives, and they don’t think it will hurt our health if used in the permitted amount. But it can not rule out the possibility that in future, other countries or other industries may also ban the TiO2.