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Industrial Safety

VCI asks EU to delay TiO2cancer labeling decision

by Melody M. Bomgardner
September 21, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 37


VCI, the trade group of German chemical makers, has asked the European Commission to delay its decision about whether to classify titanium dioxide, a ubiquitous white pigment, as a possible human carcinogen. The risk assessment committee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) proposed the classification 2 years ago based on inhalation studies done in rats. ECHA took up the subject after Anses, the French environmental and occupational health agency, requested the action. The classification would be in line with a 2006 assessment by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer that TiO2 is a possible carcinogen by inhalation. But the VCI says the rat studies are not applicable to humans and that no evidence indicates that workers exposed to powdered TiO2 have increased risk of developing cancer. Germany has proposed that the European Union include TiO2 in a general dust limit value for workplaces. VCI also would like the EU to assess the economic impact of labeling products with TiO2 powder as containing a possible carcinogen.


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