Toxic Chemicals and Carcinogens in Aluminum compounds that are found in Deodorants and Antiperspirants

Aluminum as a chemical element is the third most abundant element after Oxygen and Silicon. It is also the abundant metal in the earth’s crust with about 8% by weight of the earth’s solid surface. It can be found in over 27 different minerals with bauxite being the chief ore. It is this over-reactive nature of that has made it become a carcinogen. Almost every metal that is abundant in the environment has some role in human health and nutrition, but there is nutritional about Aluminum. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has named Aluminum as a group 1 human carcinogen.

As a chemical compound in household products, Aluminum can be found in cooking utensils, pots, pans and other non-corrosive metal products. However, these above named household products have not been proven to cause cancer. Certain toxic chemicals which are salts of Aluminum have been found to be carcinogenic. These toxic chemicals in the salts of Aluminum have been found in Antiperspirants and Roll-ons. Research studies have shown that toxic chemicals in Aluminum salts can reach up to 25% volume in some antiperspirants. The use of antiperspirants can significantly increase the amount of Aluminum salts absorbed into the body more than any other aluminum compound. Although the deodorant industry have debunked the theory of the risk of developing cancer due to the long exposure of aluminum salts, the truth is that the industry is a big business having in mind that people always want to smell fresh  and not have sweat stains coming through their clothes. The industry has a lot at stake if such statement is true. Studies have shown that about 0.12% of these toxic chemicals in aluminum salts, present in deodorants and antiperspirantsare absorbed into the body after a single underarm application. A long term exposure to this percentage, according to reports may increase the risk of breast cancer.

The two aluminum salts present in deodorants and antiperspirants that are believed to be toxic chemicals are
1.       Aluminum Chlorohydrate
2.       Aluminum Chloride

The presence of these toxic chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants poses a potentially dangerous source of toxins that may accumulate if our lymph drainage system is damaged. The effect of the long term exposure of these carcinogens and toxic chemicals present in deodorants and antiperspirants remains unknown the public, especially to women. Clinical studies have shown an irregularly high incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast, together with genomic instability in the other quadrants of the breast. These findings support existing evidences of the role of locally applied cosmetics in the development of breast cancer. Furthermore, it has been revealed these toxic chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants can accumulate in breast tissues. A report by the European Journal of Cancer Prevention states that “underarm shaving with antiperspirant/deodorant use may play a role in breast cancer.” The chafing of skin caused by shaving hair seems to increase absorption of aluminum.

These carcinogens, Aluminum Chlorohydrate and Aluminum Chloride, according to research, may cause cancer by interfering with the functions of estrogen receptors in MCF7 human breast cancer cell lines. Estrogen plays a huge role in the development of breast cancer (link to Broccoli). The action of estrogen in causing breast cancer depends on the above named intracellular receptors which function as ligand-activated zinc finger transcription factors. It is believed that these toxic chemicals of aluminum salts in deodorants and antiperspirants mimic the functions of estrogen in this process to cause cancer.
Furthermore, another research study shown that long term exposure to these carcinogenic, toxic chemicals can cause malfunction to other signaling pathways that may as well lead to breast cancer. The report summarized its findings by stating that the long term exposure to these carcinogens in deodorants and antiperspirants has shown a genotoxic profile that is capable of causing both DNA alterations and genetic related effects that could be consistent with potential role in breast cancer.

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