Health Canada Review of Titanium Dioxide

Health Canada’s Food Directorate recently completed a “state of the science” report on titanium dioxide (TiO2) as a food additive. The report, accompanied by a plain language summary, concludes there is no direct scientific evidence that food-grade titanium dioxide, when used as a food additive, is a concern for human health.

While the conclusions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) were considered in this report, Health Canada’s Food Directorate conducted its own comprehensive review of the available science. This included evaluating new scientific data that addressed some of the uncertainties identified by the EU expert panel and were not available at the time of their review. Health Canada’s report notes that many studies that raised concern about the safety of TiO2, including EFSA’s concern for genotoxicity, used forms of TiO2 that are not considered acceptable for use in food and have different properties than food-grade TiO2.

Overall, the Food Directorate’s comprehensive review of the available science of TiO2 as a food additive showed:

  • no evidence of cancer or other adverse effects in mice and rats exposed to high concentrations of food-grade TiO2 (long-term or lifetime study)
  • no changes to DNA in various animal studies
  • no adverse effects on reproduction, development, immune, gastrointestinal or nervous systems, or general health when rats were exposed from pre-conception to adulthood