Deodorant health effects

Deodorant health effects
Roll-on deodorant Rexona "Degree" brand

Deodorants are substances applied to the body mainly to reduce body odor which is caused by the bacterial breakdown of perspiration. A subgroup of deodorants are "antiperspirants", which prevent odor and reduce sweat produced by parts of the body. Antiperspirants are typically applied to the underarms, while deodorants can also be used on feet and other areas in the form of body sprays. A small percentage of people are allergic to aluminium and may experience contact dermatitis when exposed to aluminium containing deodorants.[1]


Aluminium neurotoxicity

Aluminium, present most often in antiperspirants, but not usually present in non-antiperspirant deodorants, has been established as a neurotoxin in very high doses.[2][3][4][5] At high doses, aluminum itself adversely affects the blood-brain barrier, is capable of causing DNA damage, and has adverse epigenetic effects.[2][6] Research has shown that high doses of the aluminum salts used in antiperspirants have detrimental effects to a number of species such as non-human primates,[7] mice,[8] dogs[9] and others.[clarification needed] An increased amount of aluminum is also present in the brains of many Alzheimer's patients, although this link does not seem to be causal.[10][11][12]

Experiments with mice applying aqueous solution of aluminum chloride to the skin resulted in "a significant increase in urine, serum, and whole brain aluminum"[13] and transplacental passage.[8]


Stick antiperspirant/deodorant

Rumors[14][15] surfaced on the Internet in the 1990s that antiperspirants have a link in causing breast cancer; these are now widely considered to be an urban myth.[16] According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), these claims are largely unsubstantiated by scientific research.[17][18]

NCI considered two studies that address the breast cancer claims: A 2002 study of over 800 patients at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute that found no link between breast cancer and the use of antiperspirant/deodorant;[19] and a study of 437 cancer patients, published in 2003 by the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, which found a correlation between earlier diagnosis of breast cancer and antiperspirant/deodorant use.[20] The NCI's analysis of the second study said that it "does not demonstrate a conclusive link between these underarm hygiene habits and breast cancer. Additional research is needed to investigate this relationship and other factors that may be involved."[21]

One school of thought, advanced by the studies of researcher Dr. Phil Darbre, hypothesizes that particular substances in deodorants, such as preservatives called parabens, or bolts such as aluminum chloride used in antiperspirants, get into the bloodstream or accumulate in breast tissue, where they enhance or emulate the effects of estrogen, which stimulates the growth of cancerous breast cells.[22][23] The ACS and other scientists consider these studies to be early and inconclusive, but merit further research; Darbre also stated that her findings did not show causality. The main reservations have to do with the source and significance of the parabens or other toxic substances.[24] Michael Thun, MD, of the ACS argued that even if some of the substances in antiperspirants do promote tumor growth, the risk from cosmetic use appears minuscule compared with other known tumor promoters — from 500 to 10,000 times less potent than taking oral estrogen or being obese.[25]

Renal dysfunction

The FDA warns "that people with renal dysfunction may not be aware that the daily use of antiperspirant drug products containing aluminum may put them at a higher risk because of exposure to aluminum in the product."[26] The agency warns people with renal dysfunction to consult a doctor before using antiperspirants containing aluminum.

See also


  1. ^ V. Abreo. "The Dangers of Aluminum Toxicity". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  2. ^ a b He BP, Strong MJ (January 2000). "A morphological analysis of the motor neuron degeneration and microglial reaction in acute and chronic in vivo aluminum chloride neurotoxicity". J. Chem. Neuroanat. 17 (4): 207–15. doi:10.1016/S0891-0618(99)00038-1. PMID 10697247. 
  3. ^ Zubenko GS, Hanin I (October 1989). "Cholinergic and noradrenergic toxicity of intraventricular aluminum chloride in the rat hippocampus". Brain Res. 498 (2): 381–4. doi:10.1016/0006-8993(89)91121-9. PMID 2790490. 
  4. ^ Peng JH, Xu ZC, Xu ZX, et al. (August 1992). "Aluminum-induced acute cholinergic neurotoxicity in rat". Mol. Chem. Neuropathol. 17 (1): 79–89. doi:10.1007/BF03159983. PMID 1388451. 
  5. ^ Banks, W.A.; Kastin, A.J. (1989). "Aluminum-induced neurotoxicity: alterations in membrane function at the blood-brain barrier". Neurosci Biobehav Rev 13 (1): 47–53. doi:10.1016/S0149-7634(89)80051-X. PMID 2671833. 
  6. ^ Lankoff A, Banasik A, Duma A, et al. (February 2006). "A comet assay study reveals that aluminium induces DNA damage and inhibits the repair of radiation-induced lesions in human peripheral blood lymphocytes". Toxicol. Lett. 161 (1): 27–36. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2005.07.012. PMID 16139969. 
  7. ^ Sarin S, Gupta V, Gill KD (1997). "Alterations in lipid composition and neuronal injury in primates following chronic aluminium exposure". Biol Trace Elem Res 59 (1–3): 133–43. doi:10.1007/BF02783238. PMID 9522055. 
  8. ^ a b Anane R, Bonini M, Creppy EE (September 1997). "Transplacental passage of aluminum from pregnant mice to fetus organs after maternal transcutaneous exposure". Hum Exp Toxicol 16 (9): 501–4. doi:10.1177/096032719701600904. PMID 9306136. 
  9. ^ Rapid Communications: Antiperspirant Induced DNA Damage in Canine Cells by Comet Assay - Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods
  10. ^ Crapper DR, Krishnan SS, Quittkat S (March 1976). "Aluminium, neurofibrillary degeneration and Alzheimer's disease". Brain 99 (1): 67–80. doi:10.1093/brain/99.1.67. PMID 963531. 
  11. ^ Trapp GA, Miner GD, Zimmerman RL, Mastri AR, Heston LL (December 1978). "Aluminum levels in brain in Alzheimer's disease". Biol. Psychiatry 13 (6): 709–18. PMID 737258. 
  12. ^ Aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease - Alzheimer's Society
  13. ^ Anane R, Bonini M, Grafeille JM, Creppy EE (1995). "Bioaccumulation of water soluble aluminium chloride in the hippocampus after transdermal uptake in mice". Arch. Toxicol. 69 (8): 568–71. doi:10.1007/s002040050214. PMID 8534202. 
  14. ^ About: Urban Legends and Folklore – Antiperspirants Cause Breast Cancer
  15. ^ Rados, Carol (July-August 2005). "Antiperspirant Awareness: It's Mostly No Sweat". Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  16. ^ "Study disproves e-mail hoax linking antiperspirants, cancer" Associated Press Read Online at USA Today
  17. ^ Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers
  18. ^>
  19. ^ Mirick DK, Davis S, Thomas DB (October 2002). "Antiperspirant use and the risk of breast cancer". J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 94 (20): 1578–80. PMID 12381712. 
  20. ^ McGrath KG (December 2003). "An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving" (PDF). Eur. J. Cancer Prev. 12 (6): 479–85. doi:10.1097/00008469-200312000-00006. PMID 14639125. 
  21. ^ Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer - National Cancer Institute
  22. ^ Darbre PD (September 2005). "Aluminium, antiperspirants and breast cancer". J. Inorg. Biochem. 99 (9): 1912–9. doi:10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2005.06.001. PMID 16045991. 
  23. ^ Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumours - Journal of Applied Toxicology v.24, i.1, 1jan04
  24. ^ ACS:: Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Risk
  25. ^ Antiperspirant Chemical Found in Breast Tumors
  26. ^

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