Every day before leaving the house, just like everyone else, you slap some deodorant under your arms so you don’t stink all over the place. You may have been using the same deodorant since you were young. You may never have looked at the ingredients before. The most popular brands of antiperspirants use aluminum as a main ingredient.
Aluminum is naturally occurring and is the third most abundant element and the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. While aluminum is used in things you would expect like buildings, electronics, cans, cookware and things like that, aluminum Is surprisingly often used in food additives, cosmetics, sunscreen and deodorant. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “an average adult in the United States eats about 7–9 mg of aluminum per day in their food.”
Chris Exley, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Keele University, has been researching aluminum for a quarter of a century and says “When the amount of aluminum consumed exceeds the body’s capacity to excrete it, the excess is then deposited in various tissues, including nerves, brain, bone, liver, heart, spleen and muscle. We call it the ‘silent visitor’ because it creeps into the body and beds down in our bones and brain.” His research has led him to believe that accumulation of aluminum in the body is a risk factor not only for Alzheimer’s disease but may also be linked to other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
Aluminum and Breast Cancer
Some of the most worrying research points to the possibility of aluminum in deodorant contributing to breast cancer. Some studies have found that ionic aluminum created oxidative stress in breast tissue, while other studies have found that aluminum-containing anti-perspirants keep the body from sweating and properly releasing hormones out of the body.
Clinical studies have said that “a disproportionately high incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast together with reports of genomic instability in outer quadrants of the breast provide supporting evidence for a role for locally applied cosmetic chemicals in the development of breast cancer. Aluminum is known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing both DNA alterations and epigenetic effects, and this would be consistent with a potential role in breast cancer if such effects occurred in breast cells.”
Aluminum Robs the body of vitamins and builds up in the brain.
It has been found that Aluminum robs the body of magnesium, calcium and iron, and accumulates in the brain. Studies have shown how “trace aluminum levels cross the blood-brain barrier and progressively accumulate in large pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus, cortex, and other brain regions vulnerable in Alzheimer’s disease. More aluminum enters the brain than leaves, resulting in a net increase in intraneuronal aluminum with advancing age. ”
Aluminum has Neurotoxic effects.
In addition to Aluminum’s possible role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, Aluminum has been “linked with various neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinsonism dementia in the Kii Peninsula and Guam, and the Gulf War syndrome”
Additionally, “Chronic exposure of animals to aluminium is associated with behavioural, neuropathological and neurochemical changes. Among them, deficits of learning and behavioural functions are most evident. Some epidemiological studies have shown poor performance in cognitive tests and a higher abundance of neurological symptoms for workers occupationally exposed to aluminium.”
But how can you keep from offending others with the way you smell?
Many companies have begun to fill the need to find healthier alternatives and there are now several deodorant and anti-persperant products that are aluminum-free. The environmental working group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, has created a list of deodorant’s and anti-persperant’s available and how many harmful chemicals they contain.
But you can always just take a look at the ingredients in your deodorant and look for words like Aluminum Zirconium, or any chemical words followed by Alum, like Potassium Alum or Ammonium Alum.