Titanium Dioxide In Mineral Makeup, Final Report By EPA

Another Myth (Non Science) Debunked….OMG I Am Shocked

Finally we are getting some clarity in a torrent of misinformation perpetuated by many, all on the basis of sensationalism. I have written several articles on micronized minerals used in mineral makeup as it pertains to nano particles (sub micron) versus standard micronized particles, and their relation with the use of Titanium Dioxide, in an effort to try to correct the misnomers and clear up subsequent confusion. In these articles I shared the research of what I learned and in defined scenarios I explained the differences.

Now with the EPA’s final report on this ingredient, a game changer, I have conclusively determined and feel confident, the use of Titanium Dioxide or TiO2 (sub micron) are very safe based on the science presented when applied to the skin, and has even alleviated the concern over possible inhalation into the lungs….however, the basis for this info is, if one were to go around sucking up their powders similar to the forced inhalation imposed on rats and mice….highly unlikely! And most of my readers have learned through the use of our mineral makeup tutorials, a moist application further removes this very small risk factor to nearly “zero.” Technique makes a world of difference when using mineral cosmetics.

However, there are those, no matter the solid scientific evidence provided, will refuse to accept this since it would not fall in line with their mantra of “everything we place on our skin is absorbed into it.” Sometimes when challenged, a running diatribe ensues with conjecture and no actual evidence….basically forcing them to dig their heels in further.

This same statement has been placed and regurgitated throughout many blogs, websites, forums and has been found in past articles provided by Skin Deep database, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and the Environmental Working Group, along with their subsidiary Environmental Health Sciences.

The Eternal Nay Sayer

I have seen Titanium Dioxide’s score on skin deeps’ site change whenever it seems to suit the argument they are ranting at the time. Sometimes it is worse case and then others it seems to improve in comparison to Zinc Oxide. But I will also be curious to see if they will adopt the latest finding by the EPA and the peer reviewed studies they provided in the report. Plus, also clarifying the differences in use of TD would go a long way, rather than placing it as a one size fits all scenario. I personally don’t believe they will since again, this would change the game and pretty much destroy their ability to collect donations which is essentially attributed to instilling fear through the disinformation they continually spread. Their constant rhetoric has remained unchanged even when, what I would call, different conclusive science is presented to them.

I have also experienced this when having open discussion at other blogs, forums or websites of late. Myself and others, (scientists, chemists, etc.) present the scientific evidence, not just an opinion, and the scaremongers or the avid defenders of the groups I listed above, will continue to sidestep, deflect or change the topic, including sometimes not returning to the conversation, whenever they were challenged with the actual science, whole or in part. Some of the delusion of their comparisons can be equated as, to stay safe we should not take any risks when it comes to sketchy ingredients (precautionary principle), to which I reply, then you better not cross the street, stand out in a field during a thunderstorm, drive your car, swim, drink the water, take a bath or shower, get on a plane, etc….because this statement is overwhelmingly ridiculous since risk is ubiquitous, and is part of everyday life and should not be a reason to live in isolation, panic or determine our choices since this borders on paranoia.

I further don’t understand why, when the sound science is shown, they refuse to acknowledge it, especially when it can remove some of that unnecessary worry from their proverbial plate. Basically, I feel it is about accountability or credibility, since to admit they may have been inaccurate in their stance, would contribute to both and for some, this is a tough pill to swallow.

I have stated in past articles, it is based on an ideology they follow in order to pursue an agenda, sell products, and practice the eternal “chicken little syndrome”, convincing you that all other ingredients, other than what they use, are bad. I would ask, they try promotion of their products based on positive attributes rather than on the negative attributes of other ingredients since it is mostly based on supposition……oops…I went into the land of Shangri-La there for a moment.

The Latest Science In Summary According To The EPA

This final report is on the effects of TiO2 in drinking water and in sunscreens since I published these articles “What Are Micronized Minerals In Mineral Makeup?” “The Safety Of Titanium Dioxide Used In Mineral Makeup” and “Micronized Minerals vs Non Micronized Minerals.

The report is dated November 2010 and they delve further into refining TiO2 in terms of identifiers within the study as nano-TiO2 and conventional TiO2. They further establish the nanometers between ultra fine and nano, but the entire study is dedicated to TiO2 in all particulate sizes. There seems to be refined differences as they interact with the environment, oral, inhalation and dermal.

All makes for interesting reading, but for the purposes of the past articles I wrote, the information which is most crucial and has been a cause for some concern, is in relation to the use of titanium dioxide in mineral makeup products. The information is most telling when dealing with dermal and possible inhalation, depending on application technique of the powders. Surface treatments also played a huge role in how this ingredient reacts in the environment and in relation to uptake within the blood brain barrier. For example; rutile vs anatase, coated vs uncoated, or if penetration enhancers were used and many of the studies in determination were done with injection and oral.

Furthermore the EPA makes it clear there are still unknowns in some aspects of the research, yet make it very clear that animal studies do not extrapolate to human ones. To date there are very limited studies done in relation to humans, especially those in relation to dermal exposure, and they concede that mice or rat skin is much thinner than human skin. They followed research provided by the EU and it is provided within the report. The EPA further clarifies “dose” is the regulator to risk and hazard with this ingredient. Which this is the stance not adopted by many on the other side of this debate, feeling that any amount, no matter how minuscule, is hazardous.

Analytical methods are also crucial for final analysis since distinctions are rarely made on sites as EWG or the CFSC and they define all ingredient listings in terms of HAZARD instead of RISK.

The report states that sensitive and accurate analytical methods for nanomaterials are critical tools for nanomaterial risk assessment, because measurement and characterization of nanomaterials, alone and in various media, are required for properly assessing exposure, conducting toxicological studies, estimating dose-response relationships, and understanding the behavior and effects of nanomaterials. The standardization of characterization method and sample preparation protocols will also greatly facilitate the physicochemical characterization of the nanomaterials.

Many techniques can be used to measure and characterize nanomaterials in the laboratory and manufacturing workplace, and some are available for detecting nanomaterials in the environment. However, no single instrument can characterize all of the physicochemical properties of interest. Technical difficulties still exist in certain aspects, such as measuring and characterizing nanomaterials in organisms, and distinguishing naturally-occurring nanomaterials from engineered nanomaterials in the environment.

Shown by example in the report, in general, anatase nano-TiO2 is more photocatalytic than the rutile form, and nanoscale rutile is less photoreactive than either anatase and rutile mixtures or anatase alone.

Dermal uptake of nano-TiO2 is particularly relevant for sunscreens containing nano-TiO2, and both human and animal studies are available. These studies predominantly indicate that nano-TiO2 does not penetrate beyond the stratum corneum or hair follicles into living cells of healthy skin. In a study comparing psoriatic and healthy skin, nano-TiO2 in a sunscreen formulation penetrated into deeper areas of the stratum corneum of psoriatic skin, but still did not reach living cells. No studies have been identified that evaluated nano-TiO2 penetration in damaged skin (e.g., from sunburn), although preliminary results indicate greater penetration of quantum dots and nano-silver in damaged skin compared to healthy skin. The extent and duration of nano-TiO2 accumulation on the skin via reapplication of sunscreen and the ultimate fate of nano-TiO2 from sloughed skin cells are both open questions at this time.

Final Positive Thoughts

In terms of usage in mineral makeup powders, I am satisfied with the report that there is little concern over blood brain barrier exposure through dermal contact, with inhalation also not being a sole issue for exposure due to varying particulate sizes tested. It is clearly shown with particulate size increased, exposure becomes of little concern in this context. And with the use of standard Micron sized TD in mineral powders, any concern should finally be alleviated based on the science conducted on sub micron particles.

I may be a positive thinker in a sea of naysayers when it comes to presenting the facts, but I am content in my position and my life’s decisions based on the truth in research I have pursued. For those that were on the fence over this issue, I sincerely hope this has shed some light on the possibility of lingering confusion, even when it comes to selecting future sunscreens for you and your family.

For those who wish to also wade through the 204 page report in its’ entirety, Click Here, then click on link that states “Get the Report.”

2011 seems to be shaping up as we begin to see some of this disinformation and spreading of bad science throughout the internet for the past 10 years, finally be challenged….It is a Good Day!

  • http://greenskincareblog.com/ Kristin Fraser Cotte

    Great article Katherine, and proof that one must always look at the entire story when seeking the truth… data can be skewed in so many ways when reporting does not mention concentration of the ingredient in the product.

  • Bamboozledbymistruths

    Do you realize you wrote an article which you claimed was based on facts, but only referenced yourself?

    Seems a lot more like opinion to me. Could you please either reference your sources, or start with the fact that these are your opinions?

    • Dene Godfrey

      Do the numerous references to the FDA final report not count? OK – there was no actual link, but it seems clear to me where Katherine was getting her information from.

      • http://www.sterlingminerals.com/ Katherine

        Dene sorry you missed the link, it is at the bottom with the “click here”. But case in point as you referenced, the section of the summary of the EPA report was all taken directly from it with copy and paste, they are not my personal opinions or assumptions.

    • http://www.sterlingminerals.com/ Katherine

      Perhaps if you had read the entire article you would have seen the “Click Here” marker at the bottom of the page under wading through the 204 page report. Once you click this then click on the entire report.

  • http://www.cactusandivy.com Lisa M. Rodgers

    Bamboozledbymistruths –

    The link to the case study is in the next to the last paragraph, “click here”. I’m also providing that link so you can read the study http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=230972#Download

    Many thanks for your comments. Have a great day!

    • http://www.sterlingminerals.com/ Katherine

      Hey Lisa, Since people seem to be missing the links on some of these articles, perhaps it would be a good idea to bold them since they resemble the same color of the type and basically fade into the background. What do you think?

      • http://www.cactusandivy.com Lisa M. Rodgers

        Hey Katy –

        I did that on your post today and will go back and bold them on the previous posts. It will be a job and one I will have to work into my evening schedule, I do believe!


    • Betty

      Hi I am wanting a makeup base that doesn’t have titanium dixiode in it.

      Why do you go to all the trouble to have organic or I should say natural ingredients in your skin care and then top it off with titanium dixiode. I read up on this chemical. It is a carcingenic. Why does anyone want to use this when over a period of time it will do damage.

      This chemical is in many products–including lip gloss which very young children use. The more they use at this age and continue to use the more damage.

      People wonder why they end up with different types of cancer. This ingredient is even in the foods that you eat. How wrong is this?

      Natural is suppose to be NATURAL.

      • http://www.cactusandivy.com Lisa M. Rodgers

        Hey Betty –

        Thanks for your comments. Titanium dioxide occurs in nature as well-known minerals rutile, anatase and brookite. It is classified by the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

        On other various IARC lists of carcinogens are coffee (2B), eugenol which is found in many essential oils (1), theobromine (3) also known as xantheose, is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, found in chocolate, as well as in a number of other foods. All of these are natural, yet they are classified as “possible human carcinogens”.

        You can check the individual lists by alphabetical order, CAS Registry Number or by group at http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/index.php

        “In February 2006, a working group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported on its assessment of titanium dioxide. The working group stated that there is inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of titanium dioxide, but sufficient evidence for its carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and classified the substance as possibly carcinogenic to humans. To date, the IARC working group’s statements have not led the FDA to change the regulatory status in the U.S of titanium dioxide”. via Cosmetics Info http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/HBI/21/

        I’m sure you’ve seen this said…”the dose makes the poison”.

        Thanks again for contributing to the dialogue. Have a great day!


      • http://www.sterlingminerals.com/ Katherine

        Hello Betty,

        Lisa gave you some excellent references. I will only add, The EPA report is attached to this article including the summary of it’s findings in regard to dermal exposure which is what I am mainly concerned with. It is a fantastic sun block and will not penetrate the stratum corneum as was once believed.

        As I have stated in past articles, you are absolutely free to choose to purchase your makeup anywhere you wish, but you will also be hard pressed to find a mineral makeup which does not contain this ingredient. I mean otherwise what’s the point? Zinc Oxide according to the skin deep database, not a resource I place any weight on, but has now rated it higher than TD. So I guess my question would be, what is it you would use to protect your skin from the sun? Or do you simply live in the shadows so you don’t need to be exposed to the chemicals, natural or synthetic, based on unsubstantiated claims spread throughout the internet?

        The EPA has compiled a composite of all the studies to date and it might behoove you to wade through it….or not. But you are free to believe what you wish to believe, but personally I prefer to weigh the science rather than running around expousing more fear.

        However I feel based on this comment, you did little to actually research the studies provided or take note of the summary of the findings within this article (or maybe you simply wish to ignore them), since this comment only carries on the scaremongering tactics we see everyday.

        But thanks for contributing little to the tired argument we have addressed in so many countless ways. Personally, I have found the research to be eye opening, not without it’s opponents, but nonetheless, helps to discern what is crucial for anyone wishing to wear sunscreen. As to food and water, I cannot comment, as it is not in an area that I deal with. .

      • Dene Godfrey

        Hi Betty,

        Please can you define exactly what you interpret as being “natural”?

      • Heather

        Hello, NaturalBeautyFMN has no titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in it. There are eye shadows as well as Powder base to choose from. Currently they are sold on Etsy but a website to buy direct will be coming! Hope that helps!

  • http://www.sterlingminerals.com/ Katherine

    I apologize that the link to the EPA Report seems to be lost at the bottom of the article. It is referenced as “Click Here”. However, a valid point has been called to my attention. For future, I will try to remember to reference the information with a direct link within the section of the article where the actual studies are being reviewed instead of at the bottom of the finished article. My assumption was, most people will read the article in full for all it entails including my opinions on the facts. I realize now it will provide better clarity for the reader if located at point of reference.

  • Mamaherrera

    So my biggest concern was that titanium dioxide in my mineral makeup was goign to kill off healthy cells. But what you’re saying is that if my mineral makeup company says they don’t use nano, than micro-sized or bigger sizes will only sit on my skin, but they won’t get down to healthy cells and kill them or become carcinogenic?? I d on’t want to think I’m putting something on my skin that with time, will make my skin look worse.