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NIOSH Outlines Guidance on Handling Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)


April 18, 2011
NIOSH Update:


Contact: Christina Spring, (202) 245-0633

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announces the release of “Current Intelligence Bulletin 63: Occupational Exposure to Titanium Dioxide.” This Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) marks the first time NIOSH has released two separate guidelines for the same chemical based on size.

Titanium dioxide is an insoluble white powder that is used in many commercial products, including paint, cosmetics, plastics, paper, and food. In this new publication, NIOSH examines data regarding the potential likelihood that occupational exposure to TiO2 by inhalation may result in adverse health effects. The TiO2 CIB makes recommendations for occupational exposure limits and suggests techniques for monitoring and controlling worker exposure. Specifically the TiO2 CIB:

  • Reviews data relevant to assessing the carcinogenicity and other adverse health effects of TiO2.
  • Provides quantitative risk assessments and recommended exposure limits (RELs) for fine and ultrafine TiO2. The two RELs by particle size reflect laboratory data showing that ultrafine TiO2 particles demonstrated greater potency in laboratory rats than fine particles did, when the dose was expressed by particle surface area. This greater potency was associated with the greater surface area of the ultrafine particles for a given mass.
  • Describes exposure monitoring techniques, exposure control strategies, and future research needs.

“The guidance in this Current Intelligence Bulletin will protect workers also in reflecting our efforts to use our science to better understand and address particles on the nanoscale,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “As NIOSH continues to conduct research into the occupational health implications of nanotechnology, guidance of this nature will play an increasingly important role in fashioning protective occupational safety and health practices.”

Current Intelligence Bulletins are issued by NIOSH to help share new scientific information about occupational hazards. They are shared with representatives of academia, industry, organized labor, public health agencies, public interest groups, and other federal agencies responsible for ensuring the safety and health of workers. To view the complete publication, go to For more information on NIOSH research activities visit the NIOSH website at