Prop65 Titanium Dioxide

Prop65 Titanium Dioxide: What You Need To Know

Prop65 Titanium Dioxide: If you’ve ever seen a label on a product in California that says “WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including titanium dioxide, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer,” then you’ve encountered California’s Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. This law requires warnings on products that contain chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Titanium dioxide is one such chemical on the list, but seeing this warning can be confusing. Let’s break down what Prop 65 means for titanium dioxide and what you need to know.

What is Titanium Dioxide?

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a naturally occurring mineral commonly used as a white pigment in a wide range of products. Manufacturers use titanium dioxide in everything from paints, plastics, and paper to sunscreens, cosmetics, and even food coloring. Titanium dioxide is valued for its ability to provide opacity, brightness, and UV protection.

Why is Titanium Dioxide on the Prop65 List?

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified airborne, unbound particles of titanium dioxide as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on studies involving inhalation by rats. It’s important to note that this classification is based on inhalation of concentrated, unbound titanium dioxide particles, not on everyday use in consumer products.

What Does the Prop65 Warning Mean?

The presence of a Prop 65 warning on a product containing titanium dioxide simply means that the product may contain a level of unbound titanium dioxide particles exceeding a specific safety threshold. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean the product poses a significant health risk under normal use conditions.

Should You Be Worried?

Prop65 Titanium Dioxide

Here’s the key takeaway: The Prop 65 warning for titanium dioxide applies primarily to occupational settings where workers may inhale concentrated amounts of unbound titanium dioxide dust. When products containing titanium dioxide are used, consumers face a very low risk, especially for products in which the titanium dioxide is bound within a matrix (like paint or cosmetics) and unlikely to become airborne.

What Can You Do?

If you’re concerned about titanium dioxide in a specific product, you can always contact the manufacturer for more information about the form of titanium dioxide used and potential exposure risks.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Focus on exposure: The key concern is inhalation of unbound titanium dioxide particles. In most consumer products, the titanium dioxide is not in a breathable form.
  • Consider the source: Reputable companies follow safety regulations and use titanium dioxide in safe forms within their products.
  • Alternatives exist: If you’re still uncomfortable, there may be alternative products available that don’t contain titanium dioxide.

Prop65 and Titanium Dioxide: The Bottom Line

The presence of a Prop 65 warning for titanium dioxide doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid the product entirely. For most consumers, the risk of exposure under normal use conditions is very low. However, understanding Prop 65 and its role in consumer safety empowers you to make informed decisions.


  • The Prop 65 warning focuses on inhalation risks.
  • Most consumer products use titanium dioxide in a safe, bound form.
  • Reputable companies prioritize safety regulations.

If you have further questions or concerns, consult a healthcare professional or conduct additional research from reputable sources.

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