Elizabeth Entenman
March 13, 2015 11:45 am

Food transparency is so hot right now. (We see you, McDonalds chicken nuggets.) In more related tasty food news, Dunkin’ Donuts just announced that they’re going to stop using an ingredient called titanium dioxide in their donuts. It’s a scary-sounding chemical that gives our beloved powdered donuts that dusty, delicious white glow. We had no idea it wasn’t natural.

Just a quick Google search reveals that titanium dioxide is also found in things from sunscreen to makeup to paint. And it’s been linked to some serious health issues.

“Titanium dioxide is an excellent UV-blocker,” Dr. Kenneth Porter writes on the American Cancer Society website, “but there has been some concern about its safety because in dry powder form, titanium dioxide is highly toxic when inhaled. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the dry powder form of titanium dioxide as possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Still, the FDA deemed it “safe for use as a color in food, provided that such use meets certain requirements,” according to Chemistry World.

Get this—you can read all the labels you want, but if a food product contains less than 1% titanium dioxide, it doesn’t have to be reported on the label. Say what?

While Dunkin’ didn’t have to make the changes we’re super-glad they did. We’re all for phasing out weird chemicals in delicious foods.

What will happen to that classic powder-white color? Fear not, finger lickers: Karen Raskopf, chief communications offer over at Dunkin’, assured The Huffington Post that “powdered donuts will look the same under the new formulation.” That’s a relief.

Now that the titanium dioxide sitch is under control, we can all dunk a little easier again.

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