If there is any logic, it is not obvious. While the dye E171, which contains titanium dioxide particles suspected of causing genotoxicity problems, will be banned as a food additive from 2022 in the EU, it can however still be used in medicines. .

“800 drugs” among the most prescribed “contain titanium dioxide,” said Wednesday on franceinfo Christelle Pangrazzi, the editor-in-chief of the consumer magazine Kali, which devotes a dossier to nanoparticles harmful to our health. “It is found in Doliprane, Spasfon, Imodium but also many other drugs that people can take on a daily basis,” she describes.

Potentially dangerous for health, E171 is however not essential for the good effectiveness of these drugs. This carbon dioxide is used “simply to whiten drugs or to make them brighter”, affirms Christelle Pangrazzi on franceinfo, denouncing the “reluctance” of manufacturers to change their recipes.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had estimated in early May that E171 could no longer be considered “safe” as a food additive, because if the absorption of titanium dioxide particles is low, ” they can accumulate in the body “. The regulator, which had carried out its study at the request of Brussels, had therefore judged not to be able to exclude the “genotoxicity” of the component, that is to say its ability to damage DNA, the genetic material of cells. The Belgian Superior Health Council, for its part, considers titanium dioxide as a “possible carcinogen”. In 2017, researchers had also established that it could cause pre-cancerous lesions in rats.

Kali magazine calls for “regulatory changes regarding nanoparticles”. “These are extremely small substances which can lodge in the heart of cells and probably modify them. […] They are very numerous and we ask for the withdrawal of some of them, the most dangerous and some where studies converge in explaining that there are probably health risks. “

Beyond drugs, titanium dioxide is also still present in cosmetics and hygiene products. In 2019, the Agir pour l’Environnement association studied the composition of 408 toothpastes, including 59 for children, and noted the presence of titanium dioxide in two thirds of them, including twenty-five organic. Half of children’s toothpaste was also affected.

The problem, the association pointed out, is not necessarily the dose in the toothpaste, but rather chronic exposure. The situation, insists the association in a press release, is all the more worrying in children, who tend to ingest toothpaste. “This exposure raises questions, especially since it occurs at the level of a fragile mucosa, with many micro lesions which can further facilitate the penetration of titanium dioxide into the body.”

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