NEW YORK (Reuters Health)—Murine and other studies suggest that titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, widely used as food additives and in drug formulations, may be involved in intestinal inflammation, according to Swiss researchers.
As Dr. Gerhard Rogler told Reuters Health by email, “It seems that titanium dioxide nanoparticles are not harmful for a healthy person with a normal intestinal barrier. But this may be different in an individual with impaired intestinal barrier function, such as patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).”
In a Feb. 4 online paper in Gut, Dr. Rogler and colleagues at the University of Zurich note that IBD is increasing in many nations undergoing westernization. Among possible causes are microparticles of agents such as Ti02, which are used to improve the appearance of products including food.
The researchers go on to point out that there is increasing evidence that exposure to TiO2 “can cause adverse effects, including the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) inflammatory responses and tumor formation.”