A new UCLA study raises health concerns about a nanomaterial found in a broad range of consumer products. Nanoscale titanium dioxide, which is used in toothpaste, sunscreen, paint, cosmetics, vitamins, food coloring, and nutritional supplements, has not been extensively studied for its toxicological properties. A team lead by Robert Schiestl, a professor of pathology, radiation oncology and environmental health sciences at UCLA, examined the effects of the ingestion of TiO2 nanoparticles by mice. The test subjects began showing genetic damage on the fifth day.
Further study of TiO2 appears to be on the horizon. The material is one of seven nanomaterials targeted by EPA last year for focused research. EPA is currently developing a report analyzing research needs for two applications of TiO2, as a water treatment agent and as a sunscreen.