Most Americans apply antiperspirants and deodorants on a daily basis. However, many are unaware that dangerous chemicals are part of the formula in the products they use. These chemicals include parabens and aluminum.
According to research reviewed by the Journal of Applied Toxicology, in the tissue samples studied, high levels of parabens were found in the upper quadrants of the breast and the surrounding area where deodorants are applied. Parabens are chemicals used as a preservative, not only in antiperspirants, but also in cosmetics and sun lotions. Earlier studies have shown that all parabens demonstrate estrogenic activity. In other words, they are implicated in estrogen-sensitive cancers like breast cancer.
The research referred to above reviewed 160 tissue samples drawn from 40 mastectomies. Researchers discovered that 99 percent of the samples contained at least one paraben ester. In 60 percent of the samples, all five paraben esters were present. Seven of the 40 patients said they did not use deodorants or antiperspirants, which means that the parabens must have bioaccumulated in the breast tissue from cosmetics, drugs or personal care products.
Aluminum is used in antiperspirants as an agent to close or block the pores than produce underarm perspiration. According to health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, this chemical is also hazardous to human health. “Not only does [aluminum] block one of your body’s routes for detoxification (releasing toxins via your underarm sweat), but it raises concerns about where these metals are going once you roll them (or spray them) on,” he says.
Aluminum is able to mimic estrogen, and it can also be absorbed into breast tissue. In one study, researchers found that elevated levels of aluminum in the body are an indicator of a higher than normal risk of women developing breast cancer.
Aluminum can also mimic estrogen, and can be absorbed and deposited into breast tissue. Researchers from a previous study even said that increased aluminum levels in the body can used to identify women who have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. One underarm application of an antiperspirant that contains aluminum can result in absorption of as much as .012 percent of the aluminum. Over a lifetime of use, the cumulative amount of aluminum absorbed can be dangerous.
Some people, aware of the risk from these toxic chemicals, are switching to aluminum-free deodorants. However, it is important to be vigilant in choosing a “natural” deodorant. Some of the crystal deodorants actually contain alum or potassium aluminum sulfate. Wise consumers will also be alert to the possible presence of these chemicals in health and beauty products they select.