A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition found that the common food additive, titanium dioxide nanoparticles E171, may have a significant and harmful effect on human health. The general population consumes E171 in high proportions every day. It can be found in more than 900 food products, including chewing gum, mayonnaise, sweets, jam and jelly. The toxic additive is also contained in cosmetics, sunscreen and pharmaceutical medicines.
The mice study showed evidence that the consumption of food containing E171 harms the gut microbiota, which could trigger diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Associate Professor Chrzanowski, a nanotoxicology expert from the University of Sydney’s School of Pharmacy and Sydney Nano Institute stated the following “There is increasing evidence that continuous exposure to nanoparticles has an impact on gut microbiota composition, and since gut microbiota is a gatekeeper of our health, any changes to its function have an influence on overall health.” He then adds “This study presents pivotal evidence that consumption of food containing food additive E171 (titanium dioxide) affects gut microbiota as well as inflammation in the gut, which could lead to diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer."
Nanoparticle toxicity and safety, and their impact on health and environment are poorly understood. While nanoparticles have been commonly used in medicines, foods, clothing, and other applications, the possible impacts of nanoparticles, especially their long-term effects, need to be researched further before they can be considered safe.
Titanium dioxide consumption has increased considerably in the last decade and has already been linked to several medical conditions. Many diseases have also been linked to the exposure of nanoparticles, including dementia, autoimmune diseases, cancer metastasis, eczema, asthma, and autism.
A large number of French candy makers have already stopped using E171 because the French agency for food, environmental and occupational health released an analysis of 25 recent studies that have raised concerns for its lack of safety data and potential for toxicity. Also, researchers from France and Luxembourg found a 40 per cent increase in precancerous growths in lab rats who had the molecule added to their drinking water for 100 days.
If you are looking to optimise your health, I highly recommend removing E171 from your diet and your environment.
Statham, Bill. The Chemical Maze, your guide to food additives and cosmetic ingredients.