Concerns over the future use of Titanium Dioxide, TiO2
You may have heard in the media or via other channels that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has opened a public consultation on the proposal from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) to classify all forms of titanium dioxide as a Category 1B carcinogen, by inhalation. The impact of this could mean that products containing TiO2 would not be permitted for sale to the general public, as well as the need for special controls for professional and industrial users.
Titanium Dioxide is an essential raw material for the paint, coatings and ink industries, and is used in over 85% of our products. It provides key properties to our products, such as whiteness, opacity, brightness, protection from UV light, stability and durability. It is the best way to provide an opaque white or coloured layer for decoration and protection for walls, metal objects, wooden trim and furniture, plastic films, and other substrates.
The classification proposal is based on exposure of rats to very high concentrations of titanium dioxide powder leading to ‘lung-overload’, a condition that is not relevant in humans. It is not an issue when used in a liquid matrix such as a paint or ink. The evidence provided by the French authorities is disputed by the TiO2 manufacturers (through their trade association, the TDMA), the coatings industry, and the other major downstream users in Europe. There are no reported cases of cancer due to exposure to TiO2 in our industries, and studies by reputable organisations have repeatedly shown that the substance is safe to use. The consequences of the proposed classification would clearly be disproportionate to the actual risks posed to human health.
Please rest assured that this issue is of very high priority to the paint, coatings and ink industries, as TiO2 is an essential building block in paint and ink formulations, and without it the sector would be unable to function in a proper and responsible manner.
Please find attached some more detailed information about the French proposal in a Q&A format.
Pronto Industrial Paints Ltd