Washington: Children may be the most exposed to harmful nanoparticles of titanium dioxide in candy, which they eat in amounts much larger than adults, according to a new study.
The finding provides the first broad-based information on amounts of the nanomaterial and their health effects in a range of consumer goods, which include triggering harmful free radicals when exposed to sunlight.
Paul Westerhoff, professor of sustainable engineering, Arizona State University, who led the study, and colleagues pointed out that titanium dioxide was a common additive to many consumer products, from food to paint to cosmetics, the journal Environmental Science & Technology reports.
Westerhoff recommended that regulators shift their focus from the type of titanium dioxide used in paints and industrial processes to food-grade particles, because those were much more likely to enter the environment and pose a potential risk to humans and animals.
According to Westerhoff, the body releases the nanoparticles in faeces and urine, sending them to wastewater treatment plants, which cannot prevent the smallest particles from entering lakes and rivers, according to an Arizona statement.
The research group found that children consume more titanium dioxide than adults because sweets like candies, marshmallows and icing were among the products with the highest levels.