Nano-titanium-dioxide: challenges for human health risk assessment

(Nanowerk News) Nano-titanium-dioxide (nano-TiO2) is already used in a variety of consumer products; the most well-known being sun screen. Nano-TiO2 is also used in a variety of other products, including solar cells and catalysts. It is used in various coatings/surfaces due to its self-cleaning, sterilizing, anti-fouling, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Nano-TiO2 is also employed as a filler in various paints, varnishes, (printing) inks, ceramics, rubbers and in paper.
This article ("Nano-TiO2 – feasibility and challenges for human health risk assessment based on open literature"), co-authored by scientists from the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (JRC-IHCP), investigates feasibility and challenges associated with conducting a human health risk assessment for nano-titanium-dioxide (nano-TiO2) based on the open literature by following an approach similar to a classical regulatory risk assessment.
According to the authors, gaps in the available data sets, both in relation to exposures and hazard, do not allow reaching definite conclusions that could be used for regulatory decision-making.
Therefore, the authors suggest that future work should focus on generating occupational and consumer inhalation exposure data, as well as toxicity data on absorption following inhalation, repeated dermal contact, and contact with damaged skin. Also relevant seems further information on possible neurotoxicity and genotoxicity/carcinogenicity, as well as establishing a No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL)(*) for acute inhalation of nano-TiO2.
This article is one of a series with the same purpose, but addressing different nano-materials. It is drawn upon the ENRHES report (completed under the ENRHES project) and complemented with some recent findings.
Source: European Commission Joint Research Centre