For years we have been warned about the risk of aluminum in deodorants. A recent study reported by WebMD Health News indicates there may even be a link of aluminum in deodorant and other personal care products to breast cancer.
Dr. Philippa Darbre of the University of Reading in England has found evidence that aluminum-based active ingredients in deodorants can mimic estrogen in the body.
She goes on to state, "If the aluminum salts in antiperspirants enter the body and mimic estrogen, it stands to reason that constant exposure over many years may pose a risk."
Most commercial antiperspirants contain aluminum. For years the discussions about risk of aluminum centered around Alzheimer's. This degenerative form of dementia mostly affects persons over 65 years of age.
Some studies have found there are higher than normal concentrations of aluminum in the Alzheimer's brain cells. Other studies have either not been able to conclude this or are still questioning the results. However, it is known that large amounts of aluminum can contribute to nerve toxicity and therefore possibly Alzheimer's disease.
The question becomes, can small amounts over time cause harm or is the danger only with one large exposure?
It is easy to see how we can accumulate aluminum in our bodies, since deodorant isn't the only product that contains it. It is also found in many other sources including antacids, aluminum tubes used with some brands of toothpaste, baking powder, nondairy creamers, table salt, drinking water, and processed cheese. Aluminum cookware, of course, is also a consideration.
It makes sense that small exposures on a daily bases could result in accumulation in tissues over many years, just as Dr. Darbre reports.
Our bodies do not require aluminum. We also know what we rub on our skin, we do absorb into the body and bloodstream.
Although there are no studies to this date that conclusively point to aluminum as a major cause for breast cancer and Alzheimer's, the results are not all in yet.
If you are not a gambling person, you may want to choose your personal care products very carefully to avoid aluminum. Remember, cigarettes used to not be considered unhealthy. Today, we know better.