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South African Journal of Chemistry

versión On-line ISSN 1996-840X
versión impresa ISSN 0379-4350

S.Afr.j.chem. (Online) vol.64  Durban  2011

 

RESEARCH ARTICLE

 

Determination of titanium dioxide in commercial sunscreens by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry

 

 

Tavengwa Bunhu; Andrew Kindness; Bice S. Martincigh*

School of Chemistry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Private Bag X54001, Durban, 4000, South Africa

 

 


ABSTRACT

A variety of sunscreen products have been developed to afford the consumer protection against some of the deleterious effects, for example erythema, caused by solar ultraviolet radiation. The requirement that suncare products offer broad-spectrum protection has resulted in the use of inorganic oxides, such as micronized titanium dioxide (TiO2), in their formulation. However, there are now concerns about the photocatalytic effects of the TiO2 in these products and its potential phototoxicity to the skin through the generation of reactive oxygen species such as hydroxyl and superoxide anion radicals. It is important, therefore, that the amounts of TiO2 in suncare products be closely monitored and maintained within stipulated ranges. A simple, fast and reliable analytical method for the determination of TiO2 in commercial sunscreen products by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) was developed and validated. The limits of detection and quantitation were found to be 0.018 and 0.062mL-1, respectively. The average percentage recovery of TiO2 was 102.32 ± 2.87 % with a RSD of 2.81 %. The method was applied to determine the concentration of TiO2 in 22 commercial suncare samples of which 14 contained TiO2. The amounts of TiO2 measured in these sunscreens ranged from 0.05 to 3.21 %. To our knowledge this is the first study that reports the amounts of TiO2 in sunscreen products available on the South African market.

Keywords: Titanium dioxide, sunscreens, physical blocker, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry


 

 

Full text available only in pdf format.

 

Acknowledgements

The National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF) and the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) supported this work. TB thanks the NRF for a postgraduate bursary and the University of KwaZulu-Natal for a Graduate Assistant Scholarship.

 

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Received 1 September 2011
Revised 25 September 2011
Accepted 29 September 2011

 

 

Submitted by invitation to celebrate 2011 the 'International Year of Chemistry'.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: martinci@ukzn.ac.za

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