The economic impact of titanium dioxide in Europe

What is titanium dioxide and where is it found?


Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a bright, white substance; a versatile pigment used around the world. It has many valuable qualities that make it an extremely useful and important ingredient for use across a variety of industries.


Unique properties

TiO2 is most well known for giving a bright, white, appearance to whatever it is applied to. It is used in white paint and as the base for many other paint colours; it is also found in cosmetics and food to give a highly opaque, bright appearance.


It has safe and effective UV-blocking properties, which is why it is an important protection ingredient in sunscreen, for external (light-reflecting) coatings, and in food packing and clothing to increase longevity when exposed to light.


Properties of titanium dioxide


Economic impact of titanium dioxide in the EU

From its extraction and production, all the way to its application across various industries and in commercial and home use, titanium dioxide provides a huge number of economic benefits for the people of Europe.


Economic value

The EU provides 20 percent of global titanium dioxide production – an estimated market value of €3 billion. Of this, around 68 percent is sold in the European Economic Area.


Titanium dioxide economy


Where TiO2 is produced

Titanium dioxide is manufactured in 18 plants in the European Economic Area (EEA).


Production of titanium dioxide



Paints and coatings, commercial printing inks, plastics and paper make up 94 percent of the total demand for TiO2 in the EU.


Uses of titanium dioxide


Value of the paints and coatings industry


Value of paints and coatings industry


Titanium dioxide contribution

As a white pigment, TiO2 is one of the most important raw materials for paints and coatings.

Titanium dioxide is found in wall paints, façade coatings, wood and trim coatings, including emulsion paint, lacquer, wood stain and roof coatings.


Value of plastics industry


Value of plastics industry


Titanium dioxide contribution

In the plastics industry, the main uses for TiO2 are in packaging, building, construction, transport, marine, clothing and sporting goods.

The overall value of these sectors, including downstream markets, is €650 billion.


Value of paper industry


Value of paper industry


Main uses for titanium dioxide are in decorative paper, wallpapers and packaging. The levels of TiO2 in décor paper can be between 20-40 percent, in wallpaper TiO2 levels are between 1-10 percent.


Value of food and drink industry


Value of food industry


Known as E171, titanium dioxide is used in confectionary (including ice cream and chocolate), milk substitutes/whiteners, soups, cheeses, sauces, spreads, flavoured drinks, nuts and desserts.


Value of cosmetics industry


Value of cosmetics industry


Over 20,000 cosmetic products have been launched in the last five years containing TiO2. Intolerance or allergy to titanium dioxide is very rare, and it is often used for the protection it provides from harmful UV rays.

TiO2 is approved as safe for use by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, when used in a concentration of up to 25 percent, and not in spray applications.