Green Living September 2016

Page 14

HEALTH & WELLNESS

IS YOUR DEODORANT SAFE? BY MARJ MELCHIORS

A

s all Arizonans know, sweating is the body’s natural response to heat, helping us to cool down. But did you know that sweat does not have any odor? The familiar unpleasant smell associated with sweat is caused by bacteria that live MARJ MELCHIORS on our skin. The bacteria metabolize the proteins and fatty acids from sweat and cause body odor. Deodorants deal with the smell by neutralizing it and by killing the bacteria that metabolize the proteins and fatty acids. Without sweat, the bacteria cannot metabolize proteins and fatty acids that cause body odor. A large percentage of deodorants contain aluminum to accomplish this task. Many people have heard about the possible link between excess aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. Aluminum may enter the body from long-term use of aluminum cookware and from eating or drinking foods from aluminum cans. Also, the idea that aluminum is in many deodorants may be a reason for concern. Studies suggest that aluminum compounds can change the way breast cells divide, even at low concentrations.1 The authors of this research conclude: “Our observations do not formally identify aluminum as a breast carcinogen, but challenge the safety ascribed to its widespread use in underarm cosmetics.” A study in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry (Nov. 2011) points out that: “The human breast

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is exposed to aluminum from many sources including diet and personal care products, but dermal [skin] application of aluminum-based antiperspirant salts provides a local longterm source of exposure.” Even deodorants with a natural label can contain aluminum. A popular natural deodorant is a stone that you rub under the arms. The ingredients in these crystal deodorant products are mainly comprised of minerals including “potassium alum,” which is marketed as a much larger molecule than aluminum chlorohydrate and cannot be absorbed through the skin. There is no doubt that such products are natural, since aluminum is a mineral found in nature; but if you’re looking to avoid aluminum, products containing “ammonium alum” or “potassium alum” should be left on the shelf. It will most likely take years to discover conclusive evidence to connect breast cancer and other diseases with the use of aluminum-containing deodorants; however, the choice is yours if you want to avoid the potential risk. If you want a deodorant that is free of aluminum, you must be a detective and read your labels! Marj Melchiors is the owner of allnaturalcosmetics.com boutique in Prescott Valley. Visit the website or call 928-772-0119 for more information. 1 Journal of Applied Toxicology, online, Jan. 6, 2012

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