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Rutile Toxicology

Introduction :

Rutile is one of the crystalline forms of titania. For many chemists rutile is synonymous with titania, TiO2, but to a ceramicist it indicates an impure iron-bearing ore of titanium, an accessory mineral of igneous rocks.
Rutile occurs in the beach sands of Australia, Florida and elsewhere.


I. Physical Properties :

Vapor pressure : Not volatile
Vapor density : Not volatile
Melting point : 1560 C, 1840 C
Evaporation rate : Not found
Solubility in water : Insoluble
Odor : Odorless
Form : Crystals or powder
Color : White (Natural materials may be colored by impurities.)
Specific gravity : 3.8, 4.3

II-Fire Fighting Measures :

A. Flammable properties :
Non combustible.
B. Extinguishing media :
Use that which is suitable for surrounding fire. It does not burn or support combustion. No fire or explosion hazard with material itself.
C. Unusual fire or explosion hazards :
D. Fire fighting instructions :
Firefighters should wear self-contained breathing apparatus where TiO2 dust can be released.


I. Stability and Reactivity :

A. Chemical stability :
Material is stable in closed containers at room temperature under normal storage and handling conditions.
B. Incompatibility with other materials :
Violent reaction with lithium around 200° C. Reduction of oxide by heating with aluminum, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, or zinc is accompanied by incandescence.
C. Decomposition :
D. Polymerization :
Polymerization will not occur.

II. Handling and Storage :

A. Handling :
Practice good housekeeping to prevent accumulation of dust. Avoid excessive dusting during cleanup and handling. Practice good personal hygiene. Keep material off your clothes and equipment. Avoid transferring material from hands to mouth while
eating, drinking, or smoking.
B. Storage :
Store in closed containers in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area.

III. Accidental Release Measures :

A. Safeguards (personnel) :
NOTE: Review Fire Fighting Measures and Handling sections before proceeding with clean-up.
Use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment during clean-up.
B. Accidental release measures :
Clean-up personnel to wear NIOSH-approved respiratory protection. Spills can be removed by vacuuming up or wet sweeping, keeping airborne dust at a minimum. Pick up and place in a closed container for disposal or reclamation.

IV. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection :

A. Engineering controls :
Provide adequate general and local exhaust ventilation in the workplace to keep
airborne particulate at a minimum.
B. Personal protective equipment :
1. Eye/Face protection :
Wear dust resistant goggles when handling this material.
2. Respirators :
Under dusty conditions above the exposure limit but below 150 mg/m³, use an approved dust respirator (MSA #66 CM 73053 type filter has been recommended).
Above 150 mg/m³ use an air supplied or self-contained breathing apparatus. A full
facepiece is needed above 150 mg/m³, and a positive pressure air-supplied system
is needed above 750 mg/m³.
C. Protective clothing :
Wear gloves, aprons, coveralls, etc. as required to prevent prolonged or repeated contact with skin. (Use of lotions and barrier creams may be desirable).
D. Workplace considerations :
1. Ventilation :
Use local exhaust ventilation where dust is generated to maintain airborne levels below the exposure limit. (Exhaust filter system may be required to avoid environmental contamination.)
2. Safety stations :
Make eyewash stations available in areas of use and handling.
3. Contaminated equipment :
Contact lenses pose a special hazard; soft lenses may absorb irritants, and all lenses concentrate them. Particles can adhere to contact lenses and cause corneal damage.

V. Waste disposal :
Unsalvageable waste may be buried as inert solid in an approved landfill. Follow regulations.


Hazard with TiO2 is that of a nuisance dust. It is inert, practically non-toxic, and chemically non-irritating. It is not absorbed by the body.

I. Skin contact :
Skin contact with TiO2 has shown no adverse effects (other than drying and possible particulate abrasion).

II. Eye contact :
Eye contact with pure material has shown no specific effects other than general particulate irritation in the eye.
III. Ingestion :
Ingestion of 16 oz. has caused no apparent harm or distress. (Readily eliminated within 24 hours.)
IV. Inhalation :
Excessive exposure above the exposure limit can give mild pulmonary irritation.

V. Medical Conditions which may be Aggravated by Contact :
Consider pre-placement screening with emphasis on chronic respiratory problems. (Afflicted workers are at an increased risk from severe, prolonged exposure.)

VI. Pregnancy :
A. Effects on development :
No data concerning antenatal development was found in the consulted documentary sources.
B. Effects on reproduction :
No data concerning reproduction was found in the consulted documentary sources.
C. Effects on breast milk :
There is no data concerning its excretion or detection in milk.

VII. Carcinogenic Effects :
This product is not considered a carcinogen by IARC.


I. Inhalation :
Immediately remove to fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Call a physician.

II. Skin Contact :
Wash affected area with soap and water. Get medical help.

III. Eye Contact :
Immediately flush eyes, including under the eyelids, gently but thoroughly with plenty of running water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical help if irritation persists..

IV. Ingestion :
Contact physician if a large amount ingested. Seek medical assistance for further treatment.

References :
1. Chemical Hazards of the Workplace, Proctor & Hughes, fourth edition.
2. Clinical Environmental Health and Toxic Exposures, Sullivan & Krieger; second edition.
3. Ferro Electronic Materials, MSDS, Ceramic Rutile.
4. Occupational Medicine, Zenz C., third dition.
5-Sax's Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials, Lewis C., tenth dition.
6-Toxicologie Industrielle et Intoxications Professionnelles, Lauwerys R.R., fourth edition.

By Edouard Bastarache

Related Information


Materials Rutile
A raw TiO2-containing mineral used in ceramics to color and variegate glaze surfaces.
Typecodes Article by Edouard Bastarache
Edouard Bastarache is a well known doctor that has written many articles on the subject of toxicity of ceramic materials and books on technical aspects of ceramics. He writes in both English and French.
Hazards Titanium Dioxide Toxicology

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