What you may have heard
You may have seen a viral TikTok video claiming that tampons contain an ingredient called titanium dioxide, which is responsible for increasing the risk of cancer.
What science tells us
Titanium dioxide is used as a pigment in the thread attached to tampons. Less than 0.1% of titanium dioxide is used in the total ingredients of tampons. Because exposure levels are very low, it is likely this is a very low carcinogenic risk.
Currently, there are no high-quality epidemiological studies that establish that titanium dioxide in tampons is linked with an increased risk of cancer.
Laboratory Evidence/ Supportive Evidence
One laboratory study looked into the relationship between exposure to titanium dioxide in rats. They found that when rats were exposed to high levels of titanium dioxide, lung cancer developed (Driscoll).
IARC Carcinogen Classification: 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans)
How to reduce your risk
You can lower your risk of exposure to titanium dioxide by opting to use tampons that are free of dyes, fragrances, and bleaching.
Based on the current evidence, titanium dioxide exposure from tampon use does not cause cancer.
Learn More From These Trusted Sources
Titanium Dioxide in Tampons: Debunked by OB-GYNs
August 22, 2022
Verified/updated: August 22, 2022