First settlements reached in CA lawsuit

Health concerns about titanium dioxide, or TiO2, have driven new settlements in the California Superior Court between several personal care players

Health concerns about titanium dioxide, or TiO2, have driven new settlements in the California Superior Court between several personal care players including Bonne Bell Company, Innovative Skincare and Aubrey Organics, and the US-based Public Interest Alliance (PIA), represented by Judd Law Group LLP. The three companies have agreed to a series of changes that would either see TiO2 removed from their product ranges or clear and reasonable warnings on its use provided by the companies. Titanium dioxide is one of the most widely used white pigments in cosmetic and skin care products, and TiO2 nanoparticles are commonly used in sunscreen lotion.

According to the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the mineral is not thought to be a direct-acting carcinogen, but can have a biological effect via a secondary mechanism related to the size and surface area of the pigment used. The International Agency for Cancer Research (IACR) has ruled that a link between TiO2 exposure and cancer is possible, particularly via inhalation exposure to nanoparticles and powders. Last year, the PIA filed a lawsuit alleging concerns about powder and sun-protection product agreements on more than 100 manufacturers, including many leading cosmetics brands such as L’Oréal, Maybelline and Revlon.

“Companies have an obligation to develop and make available sufficient information to consumers,” said Jeffrey Judd, managing partner of Judd Law Group. “The PIA is not saying that powder cosmetic products are necessarily unsafe, but it does want to raise awareness that the scientific-based link between the inhalation of titanium dioxide powder and tumour growth requires more study.” If such a link is proven, cosmetics businesses worldwide will have to assess their use of this basic ingredient in products.

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