is titanium dixide in chewing gum dangerous?
July 8, 2010 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Is the Titanium Dioxide in this, or any, gum a health concern?
posted by 5lbauthority to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
I doubt it.

Sorbitol is a sweetener used in all kinds of candy. I don't think there is anything wrong with it either.
posted by gjc at 2:43 PM on July 8, 2010

Titanium dioxide is usually put in as a whitener. It is fine solid mineral particles that give the product a bright, white appearance. I have never seen health concerns raised around its normal use but I could be wrong.
posted by Fiery Jack at 2:43 PM on July 8, 2010

A Bing search for titanium dioxide msds brings up a bunch of Material Safety Data Sheets. The first one I looked at said, "Not expected to be a health hazard via ingestion." The second said, "Slightly hazardous in case ... of ingestion". The third said, "Adverse effects are expected upon ingestion."

The science is settled.

I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by Bruce H. at 2:49 PM on July 8, 2010

This is the most recent and complete reference regarding safety of consumed titanium dioxide.
posted by batmonkey at 2:51 PM on July 8, 2010

Okay, when it comes to potential titanium dioxide carcinogenicity, size really matters.

Batmonkey's article specifically deals with very fine grades of titanium dioxide. As far as I know, the only consumer products that use fine/"nanoparticle" titanium dioxide are expensive mineral-based sunscreens, because you need the small particle size for the sunscreen to work and not look like white paste on your skin. I can't imagine that food producers purchasing it for whitening purposes are springing for the expensive nanoparticle grade (again, I assume, at least based on the price of that sunscreen I mentioned).

This is a slightly more informative take on (I believe) the same research.
posted by pullayup at 3:09 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

My wife works in a lab that does chemistry related to nanoparticles like Titanium Dioxide. Titanium dioxide has been used as a pigment for the color white for years and is found as a natural mineral in some rocks. It is relatively safe in small quantities.

However, the thing scientists care about nowadays is what happens to it once it enters your body. Last I heard, we aren't completely sure how it leaves the body (if at all). There's a chance it could bioaccumulate and cause problems when it eventually reaches a higher concentration or breaks down into constituents that may or may not be toxic to some part of the human system.

In other words: don't consume huge quantities in short periods of time and you'll be fine.
posted by yellowbkpk at 9:09 PM on July 8, 2010

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