Titanium dioxide is a mineral composed of oxygen and titanium. It has a number of applications and is found in food, cosmetic products and medications.
In cosmetics, it's used as a white coloring agent in toothpastes and creams. It also serves as an anti-UV filter in various types of sun protection.
The rating of titanium dioxide is different depending on whether it's in nano or non-nano form:
- The word [nano] in square brackets must be listed when titanium dioxide is present as nanoparticles in the product's ingredients. Titanium dioxide in the form of nanoparticles is the most problematic because these very small molecules can pass through various physical barriers such as the skin, and enter the body. This is why it's classified as an elevated risk (with a red dot).
- Non-nano titanium dioxide is classified as low risk (yellow dot) because the particles are too large to enter the skin when applied.
- Non-nano titanium dioxide can be a problem if swallowed. For this reason, it's classified as a moderate risk (orange dot) for children's toothpaste.