We are often asked whether our paints contain titanium dioxide, and if we have any titanium dioxide free paint colours. Titanium dioxide is the ingredient that makes white paint ‘white’ and gives it its brightness. As well as being a common ingredient in paint, it is also used to make toothpaste, sunscreen, ceramics, paper, plastic and many other everyday products.
One reason that some people might be concerned about titanium dioxide is because, like many substances, studies have shown that it can be potentially dangerous if inhaled in its powder form. In the past couple of years there has been more media coverage surrounding this.
According the British Coatings Federation however, “the powder form of titanium dioxide presents no risk to consumers when incorporated in a finished product. Consumers and professionals using paint or ink products cannot be exposed to the powder form of titanium dioxide, once it is embedded into a paint or printing ink.”
And what about dust produced from sanding? Well according to an article in The Decorator (published in June 2017), “the dust created by sanding down old paint consists of all the solid ingredients in the paint, which are held together by a polymer which embeds the titanium dioxide particles”. So despite small particles of paint being produced when sanding, the individual titanium dioxide particles have already been embedded into the paint and don’t separate during this process.
Although we would always advise taking the usual safety precautions when sanding, such as wearing a face mask and sanding outside where possible, there is no added health risk from sanding paint that contains titanium dioxide.
Nonetheless, there are other reasons why consumers might wish to avoid the use of titanium dioxide in everyday products, such as its environmental impact. The way in which titanium dioxide is mined can be destructive to the environment, and Nature Journal published a 2016 report showing that titanium dioxide nanoparticles can have a significant effect on soil.
At Earthborn we use small amounts of titanium dioxide in some of our paint colours; we simply wouldn’t achieve the coverage and stability of certain colours without it. However, in line with our strict environmental standards and EU Ecolabel accreditation, we use far less than most conventional paints and only use responsibly sourced titanium dioxide. This is one reason why our Claypaint colour White Clay has a creamier, warmer look than the usual ‘pure brilliant white’ of many trade paints.
To help you make an informed choice about the products you use in your home, we have decided to highlight those paints within our range that are totally free from this ingredient.
If you have one our new colour cards, you will see an asterisk * next to those colours within our Claypaint range that don’t any contain titanium dioxide. These colours are:
Marbles, Trilby, Hidey-Hole, Muddy Boots, Rocky Horse, Humpty Dumpty, Freckle, Flower Pot, Can-Can, Lady Bug, Trumpet, Toy Soldier, Bobble Hat, Cricket, Grassy, Hobby Wood, Hobgoblin
There are also four special colours in our Claypaint palette that are not only free from titanium dioxide but don’t contain any colourant either, as these are formulated directly from naturally occurring clays. These are Marbles, Humpty Dumpty, Freckle & Flower Pot.
We try to be as open and honest as possible about the ingredients used within our paints, which is why we list all ingredients on the side of every tin (apart from our sample pots as these are too wee!) You can also view this information, as well as download data sheets, for every Earthborn product on our website. But if you have any further questions, let us know by contacting us here and we’ll do our very best to help!