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The General Court annuls carcinogenic classification of titanium dioxide

We just came across some very interesting news on Titanium Dioxide.

As we already wrote in a blog NEW titanium dioxide labelling, a harmonized classification was published as part of the 14th ATP to CLP 2020/217, but carcinogenicity classification for powder forms was not supported by science.

This specific classification has now been overturned by the General Court of the European Court of Justice.

Findings of the Court:

1. The General Court holds that, in the present case, the requirement to base the classification of a carcinogenic substance on reliable and acceptable studies was not satisfied.

2. The General Court finds that the contested classification and labelling infringed the criterion according to which the classification of a substance as carcinogenic can apply only to a substance that has the intrinsic property to cause cancer.

In addition, it notes that the contested classification and labelling are intended to identify and notify a carcinogenic hazard of titanium dioxide which, in the RAC Opinion, was classified as ‘non-intrinsic in a classical sense’.

The General Court states that that ‘non-intrinsic in the classical sense’ nature stems from several factors, referred to both in that opinion and in the contested regulation. The carcinogenicity hazard is linked solely to certain respirable titanium dioxide particles, when they are present in a certain form, physical state, size and quantity, it occurs only in lung overload conditions and corresponds to particle toxicity.

The full Court of Justice press release is available below:

Titanium dioxide labelling - Court of justice decision
Download • 121KB

We are not sure whether this means that the classification is immediately not legal, or whether there will have to be an alteration to the 14th ATP or another ATP to remove it from Annex VI of EU-CLP.

We will therefore follow the matter and inform you about the new developments.

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