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Friday, July 16, 2010

Can Your Antiperspirant Cause Cancer?

Pick up any newspaper or health magazine and you’ll see numerous articles detailing the risks that heavy metals pose to our health. Because of these risks, over the past few years many people have taken various precautions in order to reduce their heavy metal exposure, such as having amalgam fillings removed, avoiding eating certain types of fish and even choosing non-toxic paints and household cleaning products. But did you know that heavy metals could also be lurking in your antiperspirant? Unfortunately, if you use antiperspirant, you’re most likely exposing yourself to aluminum, a highly toxic metal that has been linked not only to metabolic imbalances and Alzheimer’s, but most recently, to breast cancer.

Because antiperspirants work by blocking the pores that release sweat from your body (thanks to aluminum, the major antiperspirant ingredient), they prevent your body from ridding itself of harmful toxins. So instead of being able to detoxify, the body is left re-circulating these toxins within the bloodstream. In addition to the long-term health effects of blocking your body’s detoxification process, there are also concerns about where the heavy metals go once you apply your antiperspirant. In a study conducted in 2006, researchers tested breast tissue samples from about twenty breast cancer patients who had undergone mastectomies. Through their research, they found that the women who used antiperspirants had deposits of aluminum in their outer breast tissue, close to the underarm area, heightening the researchers’ concerns about the link between breast cancer and the use of antiperspirants.

So what can you do to reduce your exposure? Switch to a non-aluminum deodorant, such as those found at Whole Foods, health foods stores and even Sephora. Make sure you also select a deodorant that is free of parabens, which have also been linked with breast cancer. Because the skin underneath the arm is usually damaged due to frequent shaving, it is more vulnerable to absorbing chemicals into the bloodstream, so be sure to look for as few ingredients as possible.