CCM: European Commission suggests classifying TiO2 as carcinogenic 09-06-2016

On 31 May, 2016, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) released a document from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) that recommended listing TiO2 as a hazardous material.

Source: Baidu

According to the document, the ANSES suggests that TiO2, a raw material often used in coatings, building materials and other industrial and everyday consumer goods, should be listed as a group 1B carcinogen, the inhalation of which may cause cancer.

At present, the document is out for comment amongst EU countries. The deadline for comments on the document is 15 July, 2016, after which the ECHA will have 18 months to consider the matter and present a final proposal to the European Commission.

In response to the ANSES document, the Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA), a non-profit organisation run by the European Chemical Industry Council, made a statement: "Six years ago, we conducted a scientific and effective classification evaluation study on TiO2.

The findings of this evaluation report, based on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals of the ECHA, indicate that TiO2 should not be listed as a toxic substance in any way, shape or form."

In addition, the result of an epidemiological study came to the same conclusion. The study investigated working conditions for 20,000 workers across 15 TiO2 manufacturing plants over a period of decades, and found that frequent exposure to TiO2 had not harmed their health.


TiO2, a white inorganic pigment originating from minerals, is recognized as the best performing white pigment in the world. Characteristics of TiO2 include high whiteness, strong covering capability, strong resistance to weathering and nontoxicity. Because of these qualities, TiO2 is widely used in multiple industrial fields such as coatings, plastics, papermaking, printing ink, chemical fiber, rubber and cosmetics.

The TiO2 Sub-center, Chemical Industry Productivity Promotion Center of China, commented: "According to the ECHA's Guidance of the EC on the Regulation on Classification, Labeling and Packaging (CLP) of Substances and Mixtures, if the ANSES proposal to list TiO2 as 1B (human carcinogen) is agreed upon, all coatings containing TiO2 within the EU will become susceptible to being listed as carcinogens. This will affect all EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, etc."

CCM believes that regardless of whether this document is approved or not, China’s TiO2 market will not be greatly affected in the short term as this issue mainly involves European countries. TiO2 has not yet been classified as being toxic and a toxic classification will not negate TiO2's outstanding performance in industrial production. Thus, absolute dominance of TiO2 in the white inorganic pigment market remains assured.

However, if the European Commission ratifies this document, China's TiO2 export market in Europe will be greatly affected. According to data from China's Customs, in 2015, China exported a total of 66,104 tonnes of TiO2 to Europe, accounting for 11.15% of the national total.

Meanwhile, we cannot rule out the possibility that environmental organisations and governments all over the world may follow the EU's lead of listing TiO2 as a carcinogen after the ratification of the document, although this will likely come some time after ratification.

In addition, according to the CLP regulation, there are limitations on the consumption of group 1A and 1B carcinogens. This means that this document, if ratified, would have a large impact on the consumption of coatings containing TiO2, and have a knock-on effect on China’s coating industry. 


This article comes from Titanium Dioxide China Monthly Report 1606, CCM


About CCM:

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Tag:  TiO2


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