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Does Your Antiperspirant Cause Cancer?

September 20, 2007 | 95,553 views

Aluminum, a common ingredient added to antiperspirants to stop skin sweating, may be linked to breast cancer, a study by British scientists found.

The researchers tested breast samples from 17 breast-cancer patients who had undergone mastectomies. The women who used antiperspirants had deposits of aluminum in their outer breast tissue. Concentrations of aluminum were higher in the tissue closest to the underarm than in the central breast.

Aluminum is not normally found in the human body, and the researchers believe the metal is being absorbed from antiperspirant sprays and roll-ons.

Animal studies have found that aluminum can cause cancer, and the British researcher who led this study, Dr. Chris Exley from Keele University, has also suggested that the aluminum content of sunscreens could increase users’ risk of skin cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Further studies are needed to determine if the aluminum came from antiperspirants and whether it contributed to breast cancer.

The director-general of the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association said they do not believe that the aluminum in antiperspirants is absorbed by the body.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Let’s get one thing straight, folks. There are certain metals that are toxic to humans; they are poison and most people do not understand this. They are NOT nutrients in small quantities -- if anything they are anti-nutrients.

What are these commonly misunderstood toxins?

Mercury, fluoride, and aluminum.

You don’t need any of these poisons in your body, so remember to avoid them.

Unfortunately, if you use antiperspirants, you are most likely exposing yourself to aluminum -- the metal that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and now possibly breast cancer.

Aluminum salts can account for 25 percent of the volume of some antiperspirants.

Antiperspirants work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores that release sweat under your arms -- with the active ingredient being aluminum. Not only does this block one of your body’s routes for detoxification (releasing toxins via your underarm sweat), but it raises concerns about where these heavy metals are going once you roll them (or spray them) on.

Given that antiperspirants are used on your armpits, the aluminum salt concentration is highest near your breast tissue. Further, when women shave under their arms it can result in a higher aluminum-salt absorption rate due to the damaged skin.

The aluminum in antiperspirants has been linked to breast cancer before.

A 2006 study found that aluminum salts can mimic the hormone estrogen, and chemicals that imitate that hormone are known to increase breast cancer risk.

Fortunately, reducing your exposure is pretty simple -- simply ditch your antiperspirant and deodorant.

It’s worth mentioning that deodorants are not the same thing as antiperspirants. They may actually be less problematic than antiperspirants, as they work by neutralizing the smell of your sweat and by antiseptic action against bacteria, but do not prevent sweating.

However, many deodorants also contain aluminum, along with parabens, which have also been linked to breast cancer. So, you’re clearly better off avoiding both antiperspirants and deodorants.

Personally, I have not used any antiperspirants or deodorants for over 25 years.

Simple soap and water has served me quite well, and I don't ever recall anyone telling me I had an offensive odor. When I stopped using them I noticed the stains I was getting on the underarms of my shirts stopped. It was clear that they were NOT related to my sweat but to the chemicals in the antiperspirant I was using. If you get stains in the armpit areas of your shirts you can virtually be guaranteed it is from the antiperspirant.

Please remember that most chemicals you put on your skin are absorbed quite nicely into your bloodstream. So if you wouldn’t eat something you would put on your skin, I would advise not using it.

If you simply can’t imagine going without antiperspirant or deodorant, you can find aluminum-free varieties in your local health food store. (But I would encourage you to at least TRY going without before making your mind up.)

[+] Sources and References

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