> Titanium Dioxide - A Potentially Cancer-Causing Additive - The Food Safety Company Titanium Dioxide - A Potentially Cancer-Causing Additive - The Food Safety Company
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    Tuesday, 24 January 2017

    Titanium Dioxide - A Potentially Cancer-Causing Additive

    French scientists have discovered another chemical in food products that definitively causes cancer in rats. Called titanium dioxide, the additive can be found in edibles – sweets, chocolates, biscuits and chewing gum – toothpaste and sunscreen. In health care products, the additive, also referred to as E171, is used to whiten products or make them appear opaque.

    The findings were announced following the results of a study, led by France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), in which rats were given the additive in drinking water. Out of those subjects given tainted water, 40% were found to have precancerous growths as a direct result of consumption. Titanium dioxide was also found to speed the development of the non-malignant growths which can lead to cancer down the line. Other research conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that inhalation of the additive, as would be the case with paint, could cause cancer. However, this most recent discovery is the first instance in which consumption is believed to correlate with cancer.  

     “These studies show for the first time that the additive E171 is a source of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the intestine and the entire body, with consequences for both immune function and the development of preneoplastic lesions in the colon. Oral exposure to E171 is a concern, especially for children who tend to eat a lot of sweets.”

    Scientists observed the additive being absorbed by the intestine before passing into the blood. It was then channeled to other parts of the body. Growths were found in the intestine or colon of rats that drank tainted water. No growths were found on rats given untainted water – shocking evidence of direct correlation. Additionally, titanium dioxide saw the rats’ immune systems weakened.

    Further research must be conducted before it can be determined if E171 has the same effect on humans. At the present, scientists involved in the study say the result “cannot be extrapolated to humans.”

    The French government has begun an inquiry into the additive. French ministries for economy, health and agriculture said: “In light of the findings of this study, the Ministries of Economy, Health and Agriculture decided to jointly refer the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (Anses) to determine whether the food additive E171 presents a potential hazard to consumers.” The inquiry will be rolled into an ongoing investigation into the impact of nano-materials on health set to publish by the end of March, reports Independent.

    This discovery comes just after scientists linked the burnt or browned parts of roasted carbs (potatoes, bread, biscuits/cake, chips, crisps) to cancer. 

    Jacqui Litvan

    Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).
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