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Additive Found in Toothpaste and Food Products Could Cause Cancer, Say Scientists

A new study finds that titanium dioxide, a common food additive found in toothpaste and food products, can cause cancer, the Independent reports. Titanium dioxide is used to whiten all kinds of products, from sweets to chewing gum to sunscreen to toothpastes. The study was in mice, and scientists refused to bridge its results to humans without further research.

This adds to other evidence that titanium dioxide is not the inert or harmless substance that manufacturers would lead you to believe, particularly when it’s used in the form of nanoparticles. Evidence suggests that some nanoparticles may induce toxic effects in your brain and cause nerve damage, and some may also be carcinogenic. That’s why the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies titanium dioxide as a Group 2B carcinogen, which means it’s “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Candies, sweets and chewing gum have been found to contain the highest levels of titanium dioxide, but titanium dioxide nanoparticles are found most often in personal care products such as toothpaste, sunscreen and, to a lesser extent, shampoos, deodorants and shaving creams.

To avoid these particles in your toothpaste, consider making your own out of coconut oil. As for sunscreen, first realize that titanium dioxide (and zinc oxide) is a top choice for sun protection (and doesn’t carry the same risks as hormone-disrupting sunscreen chemical oxybenzone). To be on the safe side look for non-nanoparticle titanium dioxide that is tested and guaranteed to be non-nano. Further, minimize your sunscreen use as much as possible.
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