Yes.  In mice.

It is used in food to whiten and brighten it and in skin and sun creams. It’s also present in products that are intended to “heal your gut”.

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has washed its hands of it and claims that titanium dioxide is not harmful. 

Titanium Dioxide is a “Nanoscale Material

FSANZ justifies their hands off approach by claiming that there is no evidence to indicate that nanoscale materials  do any harm.  This claim is then used by food producers who are using titanium dioxide in food to support their usage of the nanoscale material.

The results of a study was published recently in the journal Nature.  The study showed that normal cells were transformed into cancer cells in mice when the mice were given titanium dioxide for 100 days. 

Another study commissioned by Friends of the Earth showed similar results

The body that is meant to protect us from harmful food is sitting on its hands. It should be the role of the FSANZ to ensure that studies are carried out to determine what is and isn’t safe. There are plenty of scientists who would love to be paid to do this type of research.

When given a choice of white with a cancer and off-white without the cancer I think most consumers would choose off-white.

E171 is bad

For now, I will check all my labels – food and cosmetics – for E171 until I have proof that titanium dioxide does not harm me.