Products bearing the CL seal of the Art & Creative Materials Institute ("Caution Label") contain ingredients that are toxic or hazardous, but when used in properly supervised and controlled conditions, they can be enjoyed with complete safety.
Titanium White is the most brilliant of the white pigments. It is considered an all purpose oil color useful in all techniques and the best all around white. Its masstone is neither warm nor cool, placing it somewhere between Lead White and Zinc White. It is less prone to cracking and yellowing than Lead White, but it still yellows easily. Titanium White dries slowly in oil form, more slowly than Lead White but more quickly than Zinc White. It is opaque in oil and acrylic forms and semi-opaque in watercolor form. This pigment has good chemical stability, and its tinting strength is superior to both Lead White and Zinc White.
Titanium White has excellent permanence and lightfastness.
Titanium dioxide is highly stable and is regarded as completely non-toxic. Animal studies give no indiciation that it is absorbed biologically, even after long periods of exposure. The primary safety concern is with inhalation of fine pigment dust particl
Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, however mineral deposits that are economical to mine are less common. Titanium dioxide was first discovered in 1821, although it could not be mass produced until 1919. Widespread use of the pigment began in the 1940s. Since that time, it has become the most commonly used white pigment. The name comes from the Latin word Titan, the name for the elder brother of Kronos and ancestor of the Titans, and from the Greek word tito, meaning day or sun.
Zinc White is the coolest white, and it has a cold, clean masstone and a slightly bluish tint. It has less hiding power and is more transparent than other whites. It dries slowly and is good for painting wet into wet and for glazing and scumbling. Zinc White is neither as opaque nor as heavy as Lead White, its covering power is not as good, and it takes much longer to dry. However, it does not blacken when exposed to sulfur in the air as Lead White does. It is very valuable for making tints with other colors. Unmixed Zinc White dries to a brittle and dry paint film that may crack over the years, so it is not good for frescoing. It is more transparent in acrylic form than Titanium White and is the most commonly used white with gouache. Chinese White is a version of Zinc White appropriate for opaque watercolor techniques.
Zinc White has great permanence and lightfastness.
Zinc White is moderately toxic if ingested and slightly toxic if inhaled.
Though historians are divided on who first isolated the element zinc, they agree that it was first suggested as a white pigment in 1782. Zinc White was accepted as a watercolor in 1834 and was called Chinese White due to the popularity of oriental porcelain in Europe at the time. Ten years later, a suitable oil form was produced. By the early 20th century, it had improved to the point where it was an acceptable alternative to Flake White.