Concern Over Deodorants & Breast Cancer

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January 28, 2004 | 41,017 views

Researchershave found traces of chemicals called parabens in every sampleof tissue taken from 20 different breast tumors. Studies suggestthat paraben, a chemical found in underarm deodorants and othercosmetics, can seep into the tissue after being applied to theskin.

This finding concerned researchers since parabens have beenshown to be able to mimic the action of the female hormoneestrogen, which can drive the growth of human breast tumors.

However, this study showed no direct evidence that deodorantswere linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Furtherwork is required to examine any association between estrogenand other chemicals found in deodorants and breast cancer,researchers say.

BBCNews January 11, 2004

I have posted articles in the past warning of the dangersof antiperspirants, and now this study is raising concernsabout deodorants as well. Antiperspirants and deodorants arenot the same thing: Antiperspirants work by clogging, closing,or blocking the pores that release sweat--with the activeingredient being aluminum--so that they can’t releasesweat. Deodorants work by neutralizing the smell of the sweatand by antiseptic action against bacteria, but do not preventsweating.

The concern with antiperspirant is that the aluminum itcontains is absorbed by the body and wreaks havoc in the brain,where it likely contributes to the growingnumbers of people coming down with Alzheimer’s disease.So it appears that the urban legend that antiperspirantshave been identified as the leading cause of breast cancermay actually have some truth to it.

A study was conducted in 2004 by Dr. Kris McGrath, a Chicagoallergist who claims to have found a connection between antiperspirants,underarm shaving and cancer. He believes the culprits in theseantiperspirants are the toxins in aluminum salts such as aluminumchlorohydrate. He says they don't normally penetrate the skinenough to cause a problem--unless the skin is shaven. If youdisrupt the skin by shaving, it can open up the door, becausejust under the skin is the lymphatic system, which is connectedto the breast.

In this study, more than 400 Chicago-area breast cancersurvivors recalled their lifetime history of using antiperspirantsand underarm shaving. He found that women who perform underarmshaving more aggressively had a diagnosis of breast cancer22 years earlier than the non-users.

Now with the study above, British researchers have foundtraces of chemicals called parabens in tissue taken from womenwith breast cancer. These researchers also published a studylast year in the Journalof Toxicology that suggested underarm cosmetics mightbe a cause of breast cancer. It is unclear how valid thisproposed mechanism is, but it would sure seem safe to avoidall antiperspirants and deodorants just to be safe.

At the very least, if you are using a deodorant in orderto avoid the aluminum in antiperspirant, you will also wantto be certain that the deodorant you choose does not containparabens.

Parabens are used as preservatives, and on the label theymay be listed as methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben,butyl paraben, isobutyl paraben or E216. Look for naturaldeodorants, which should be available in your local healthfood store, but be sure to read the labels, as all "natural"deodorants are not paraben-free.

I personally have not used any antiperspirants or deodorantsfor over 20 years. Simple soap and water has served me quitewell for the last two decades, and I don't ever recall anyonetelling me I had an offensive odor. So, I suggest avoidingthe chemicals, save some money, prolong your life and dropthe underarm chemicals.

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