The Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has set a limit of one percent titanium dioxide for food Titanium dioxide (TiO2). However, it was banned from being used as a food additive in Palestine due to its potential toxicity. This study aimed to measure TiO2 concentration in different types of food, especially children’s food in order to assess the risk caused by different concentrations in children.
Different local and imported food samples (N=112) were analyzed for TiO2. All samples were picked based on previous researches, and the commonest products that were consumed by the Palestinian children. Analysis was carried out using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (PerkinElmer, model avio 200) in Birzeit University (Centre for Testing Laboratories) in the West Bank.
Titanium dioxide was found in 11 samples out of 112 (9.8%), of which five samples were local products and six samples were international products from Turkey (2 samples), Spain (1 sample), Poland (1 sample), and Jordan (2 samples). The concentration of TiO2 had ranged from 2 ppm to 4859 ppm. The highest concentrations were found in imported gum from the same company from Turkey (4859 ppm for peppermint gum and 1975 ppm for watermelon gum), followed by imported gum from Poland (1574 ppm), candies from Spain (902.4 ppm), and gum from Jordan (2-11.3 ppm). The highest concentration in local products was found in the hummus sample (2212 ppm and 741 ppm), followed by Halawa (825 ppm), and finally tahina (18.6 ppm and 4.9 ppm). All other samples did not contain any detectable TiO2.
Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that TiO2in different types of food in the Palestinian market presents a serious threat to the current and future health of Palestinians, especially children. More regulation and monitoring are needed and law enforcement is required. More research is needed to explore the possible risk of TiO2 to establish a specific direction of prevention strategies. We should have a reliable surveillance system in the market to prevent these sorts of actions.