France is clamping down on a standard meals additive that has been proven to be carcinogenic in animal research. The ban of titanium dioxide, introduced by the French authorities last month, follows an overview that would not rule out human cancer dangers.
The ban is simply the newest chapter in a prolonged debate on the security of food components, generally known as nanoparticles, that are largely unregulated in the US. This suite of elements, engineered to the nearly atomic scale, may have unintended effects on cells and organs, significantly the digestive tract. There are additionally indications that nanoparticles would get into the bloodstream and concentrate elsewhere in the body. They’ve been linked to swelling, liver and kidney injury and even heart and brain damage.
Technological improvements over the last 20 years have meant that we will now engineer tiny particles much more straightforward – and their different properties make them helpful in the food business. They’re at the moment used to change the feel, look, and taste of different meals. For instance, silicon dioxide is added to salts, spices, and icing sugar to improve their movement. Salt and green tea are ground to nano-sized particles to spice up their taste or to enhance their antioxidant properties.
Titanium dioxide, or TiO2, appears in sweets, baked items, and milk powders, usually as a whitening agent. However, the tiny metallic additive has additionally been proven to build up in the liver, spleen, kidney, and lung tissues in rats when ingested and to wreck the liver and heart muscle.
Due to safety issues, some scientists who’ve studied nanoparticles say they’d have restrictions about consuming meals that incorporate the technology. “As a consumer, I wash all my meals like crazy,” says Christine Ogilvie Hendren, executive director of the Middle for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology at Duke University, when requested if shoppers can wash off among the nanoparticles which are increasingly present in meals and packaging.