Some important facts of titanium dioxide used in textilindus

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HomeKnowledgeArticleTextile/ Some important facts of titanium dioxide used in textile industry - a challenge to nanotechnology

Some important facts of titanium dioxide used in textile industry - a challenge to nanotechnology


The following operations may involve titanium dioxide in textile industry and lead to worker exposures to this substance:

Use as a pigment in paints, varnishes, enamels, and lacquers to impart whiteness, opacity, and brightness;

Use in coated fabrics and textiles on natural and artificial leather, oilcloth, upholstery materials, and wall coverings;

Use as a delustrant for acrylic, nylon, and spandex fibers; and as a shoe whitener

Methods that are effective in controlling worker exposures to titanium dioxide, depending on the feasibility of implementation, are

If titanium dioxide collects on the skin, workers should wash the affected areas with soap and water.

Clothing contaminated with titanium dioxide should be removed, and provisions should be made for the safe removal of the chemical from the clothing.

A worker who handles titanium dioxide should thoroughly wash hands, forearms, and face with soap and water before eating, using tobacco products, using toilet facilities, or applying cosmetics.

Workers should not eat, drink, use tobacco products, or apply cosmetics in areas where titanium dioxide is handled, processed, or stored.


Effects on Humans:Titanium dioxide causes pulmonary irritation in chronically exposed workers [Hathaway, Proctor, Hughes, and Fischman 1991, p. 545]. Three workers from a group of 15 exposed to titanium dioxide dust at unspecified concentrations and for unknown durations showed radiographic evidence consistent with slight fibrosis, although these workers were asymptomatic [Hathaway, Proctor, Hughes, and Fischman 1991, p. 545]. In another study, three workers exposed to this substance during the manufacture of titanium dioxide pigments showed signs of fibrosis described as slight [Hathaway, Proctor, Hughes, and Fischman 1991, p. 545]. In intermittent contact with the skin for three days, titanium dioxide caused mild irritation [RTECS 1993].

1. Acute exposure: The signs and symptoms of acute exposure to titanium dioxide include physical irritation of the skin and eyes, with redness and swelling; cough; and sneezing.

2. Chronic exposure: The signs and symptoms of chronic exposure to titanium dioxide include X-ray evidence of mild fibrosis; dyspnea; cough; and declines in pulmonary function.

In the event of an emergency, the rescuer should use appropriate personal protective equipment, remove the victim from further exposure, send for medical assistance, and initiate the following emergency procedures:

1. Eye exposure: If titanium dioxide dust gets into the eyes, immediately flush the eyes with large amounts of water for a minimum of 15 minutes, lifting the lower and upper lids occasionally. If irritation develops, get medical attention as soon as possible.

2. Skin exposure: If titanium dioxide dust collects on the skin, the contaminated skin should be washed with soap and water.

3. Inhalation: If titanium dioxide dust is inhaled, move the victim at once to fresh air and get medical care as soon as possible. If the victim is not breathing, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation; if breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Keep the victim warm and quiet until medical help arrives.

There is no known biological role for titanium. There is a detectable amount of titanium in the human body and it has been estimated that we take in about 0.8 mg/day, but most passes through us without being adsorbed. It is not a poison metal and the human body can tolerate titanium in large doses.

Elemental titanium and titanium dioxide is of a low order of toxicity. Laboratory animals (rats) exposed to titanium dioxide via inhalation have developed small-localized areas of dark-colored dust deposits in the lungs. Excessive exposure in humans may result in slight changes in the lungs.

Carcinogenicity: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has listed titanium dioxide within Group 3 (The agent is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.)

Low toxicity. When in a metallic powdered form, titanium metal poses a significant fire hazard and, when heated in air, an explosion hazard.

No environmental effects have been reported.

Dr. Subrata Das, did his PhD (1997) and M. Tech (1986) from the Textile Technology Department of I.I.T. Delhi after completion of B. Sc(Tech) in Textile Technology(1983) from Calcutta University. He is having around two decades of working experience in Shop floor, Research & Development, Quality Assurance and Teaching. Dr. Das had visited abroad several times and received special training in Social Accountability, Laboratory Management Systems and Excellence in Retail Store Operations. He has performed more than 100 audits in Bangladesh as a lead auditor in Social Compliance for reputed garment buyers throughout the globe.

Dr. Das is presently heading the Consumer Testing Laboratories (India) Limited, Inc., Bangalore. He has around 75 publications in reputed national and international textile journals and presented 20 technical papers in various national and international conferences. He is also in the panel of referees in Indian Journal of Fibre and Textile Research.E-mail:d

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