Health Canada's Food Directorate recently completed a “state of the science” report on titanium dioxide (TiO2) as a food additive. Food-grade TiO2 is a white powder made up of small particles that has been permitted in Canada and internationally for many years as a food additive to whiten or brighten foods. Food-grade TiO2 has long been considered safe in Canada and in other countries when eaten as part of the diet.
Recent analyses of food-grade TiO2 samples have found that a significant portion of particles may be within the nanoscale. These particles (also known as nanoparticles) range in size from 1 to 100 nm, where 1 nm equals 1 billionth of a metre (the width of a typical human hair is 80,000 to 100,000 nm).
Because of their small size, nanoparticles may have unique physical and chemical properties. These properties may cause them to interact with living systems differently than larger materials with the same chemical composition (also known as bulk materials).
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