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Unreasonable risk classification of TiO2


Titanium dioxide (TiO2) counts as the most important white pigment. However, after a suggestion of the French National Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recommended to classify Titanium dioxide “suspected of having a carcinogenic effect on humans” if inhaled. This would be alike the statement H350i.

Pinneberg/Germany, August 31th, 2017

The next step is now a political discussion in which socio-economic arguments can also be forwarded. A final decision is expected around the end of 2018. 

ROWA Masterbatch and many other companies and organizations regard the suggestion as unreasonable. These also includes the Masterbatchverband, a specialist department of the VdMi, in which a further 21 masterbatch producers are organized alongside the founding member ROWA Masterbatch. 

Various reasons can be cited for this opinion: 

  • Epidemiological tests performed over decades on more than 20,000 employees involved in the production of titanium dioxide do not indicate any problems. 
  • The results of the “lung overload” studies on rats, to which the ANSES refers, cannot be transferred to humans and these studies are over 20 years old. 
  • Since health and safety regulations already exist for TiO2 in the form of workplace limits for dust, a harmonized classification can be regarded as inappropriate. 

Furthermore, it has to be remembered, for users of products such as masterbatches and compounds, that titanium dioxide is firmly embedded in a plastic matrix and is thus immobilized – in this case, one talks of a so-called encapsulation principle. This means that no dust exposure is to be expected. 

A harmonized classification would nevertheless lead to significant restrictions on the use of titanium dioxide and greatly increase the effort and costs of its production, processing, marketing, and disposal. This would also apply for products that do not contain titanium dioxide in powder form. 

Since product safety is taken very seriously at ROWA Masterbatch, the customers have a strong partner at their side that is following the developments in this process in great detail. 

The new website provides further information about titanium dioxide and the classification procedure. It has been online since the middle of June and is operated jointly by the Verband der deutschen Lack- und Druckfarbenindustrie e.V. (association of the German lacquer and printing ink industry - VdL) and the VdMi. 

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