The General Court overturned the classification of titanium dioxide as carcinogenic by inhalation

Lady Justice and European Union flag

Titanium dioxide is an inorganic chemical substance that is used mainly as a white pigment in various products such as paints, detergents, cosmetics, sunscreens, medicines, paper and plastics.

Based on the proposal for the classification of titanium dioxide as a carcinogen submitted by the French competent authority and the opinion of the Risk Assessment Committee at ECHA, the European Commission adopted Regulation 2020/2172, which harmonized the classification and labeling of titanium dioxide as a category 2 carcinogen when inhaling.

The General Court considered that the Commission made a manifest error in assessing the reliability and acceptability of the study on which the classification was based, and violated the criterion according to which this classification can only refer to a substance that has inherent cancer-causing properties. Indeed, the risk of carcinogenicity is only associated with some respirable particles of titanium dioxide, when these are present in the form of dust containing 1% or more of particles with a diameter equal to or less than 10 μm.

The General Court thus declared the Commission’s delegated regulation of 2019 null and void in the part in which it refers to the harmonized classification and labeling of titanium dioxide as an inhalation carcinogen in certain dust forms.