Evaluation of Titanium Dioxide Levels in Certain Traditional Food in the West Bank

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ظاهر, عثمان عوني خليل
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An-Najah National University
Titanium is a bleaching substance used as a food bleach and a Category 2B carcinogen. Despite Titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been banned as food additives since 2015 by standard and measurement authority and Palestinian health ministry, it is still used especially in popular food such as humus, tahini, and halawa. Titanium dioxide in Palestinian food could be a health concern and the evaluation of the risk of Titanium dioxide is required. The objectives of this research was to establish the levels of Titanium dioxide in the most popular Palestinian food humus, tahini, halawa, and egg plants appetizer in the years 2005-2017 and to compare the levels of TiO2 before and after it was banned in these food. Titanium dioxide was tested in 444 samples of different types of food, halawa, tahini, humus, and egg plants appetizer from the year 2005 to 2017 by Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMOH) and in Birzeit University (Centre for Testing Laboratories). Out of the 444 food samples tested, 207 samples (46.4%) had shown a concentration of TiO2 more than the legalized concentration (0 mg/kg). The majority of the samples (90.3%) were originally from the West Bank and only 42 (9.5%) were from Egypt and 1 (0.2%) from Turkey. TiO2 was detected in 46.6% of the samples and (61.9%) of samples from Egypt had TiO2. TiO2 was detected in 53.6% of Halawa samples, 48% of Humus samples, and 37.3% of Tahini samples. All types of food tested have high levels of TiO2 and ranged (2-5400) mg/kg and even after the year 2015 when it was banned by Ministry of Health (MOH). Small projects funded by NGOS and restaurants are the most source of TiO2 in food. The findings of this study indicate that TiO2in the popular Palestinian food present a serious threat to current and future health of Palestinian. More regulation and monitoring is needed and law enforcement is required. More research is needed to explore possible risk of these of TiO2 in order to establish specific direction of prevention strategies.