European assessment of titanium dioxide in cosmetics

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The European Commission has asked the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) to re-evaluate the safety of titanium dioxide (TiO2) in cosmetics, with regard to its genotoxicity in case of inhalation and oral exposure.

Among the types of cosmetics mentioned are: lip balms, lipsticks, toothpastes, powders and hair sprays.

This referral follows the concerns highlighted in May 2021 by EFSA regarding the potential genotoxicity of E171 (a food additive composed of titanium dioxide) and the submission, in May 2022, by an industrialist of a documented file supporting the safety of the non-nano (pigmentary) and nano forms of TiO2 in cosmetic products.

Several questions were posed to the SCCS:

  • Is titanium dioxide safe in oral cosmetics?
  • Should its previous opinions on inhalation and dermal exposure to titanium dioxide be revised? If so, what concentration limits does it recommend for each product category and type of use?
  • What specifications does it recommend for titanium dioxide used in cosmetics?
  • Does it have any other scientific concerns regarding the use of titanium dioxide in cosmetic products?

The SCCS has nine months to issue its opinion, which should therefore be finalized in March 2023.

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