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!
More about the author: Katherine Corkill is the founder and creative director of Sterling Minerals Cosmetics. She became inspired to create products that would assist men and women in restoring the radiant healthy skin of their youth. Read more from this author