Deodorants and antiperspirants are a regular part of most everyone’s daily personal hygiene, but did you know your deodorant may contain chemicals that could be detrimental to your health? It’s true, but many manufacturers still continue to include these harmful chemicals in their products, and we continue to use them, unaware that we could be putting our health at risk. Researchers have identified the following top five dangerous chemicals that should be avoided for your deodorant safety:
Aluminum is a standard ingredient in most antiperspirants. It’s a metal that helps block sweat excretions from the pores. Research studies have linked aluminum to breast cancer in women, to prostate cancer in men and to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the FDA has yet to identify aluminum as a carcinogen. Instead, the FDA’s approach is to wait for additional studies and more definitive findings.
This group of synthetic preservatives is often found in deodorants, as well as a staggering number of other personal hygiene products. The CDC randomly screened 100 human urine specimens for parabens and found that all 100 were contaminated! This shows just how easily these harmful chemicals are absorbed through our skin. The major concern is that parabens may disrupt our natural hormonal balance, which could lead to early puberty in children, an increased risk of hormonal cancers, birth defects and organ toxicity.
Propylene glycol is a petroleum-based material used to soften the consistency of beauty products so they can be more easily applied to the skin. Research studies have found that large amounts of propylene glycol can damage the central nervous system, the liver and heart. Consumer advocate groups continue to question if small amounts of propylene glycol are also harmful. Alarmingly, many processed foods we eat contain this hazardous chemical as well. The sensible conclusion is that we should eliminate our exposure to propylene glycol whenever possible.
Phthalates are another group of chemicals used in deodorants, cosmetics, fragrances, body care and medical products because of their ability to help dissolve ingredients and improve the consistency of formulas. High levels of phthalates found in blood and urine samples from women of child-bearing age have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects. This shows that phthalates may potentially interfere with critical hormone receptors and increase the possibility of cell mutations.
Another ingredient to avoid is Triclosan, which is used in deodorants for its odor-eliminating and anti-bacterial powers. It’s also commonly found in antibacterial soaps, hand wipes and sanitary gels. The FDA actually classifies Triclosan as a pesticide; however, the Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a probable carcinogen. This served as a catalyst for some companies to stop including Triclosan in their products. However, despite the possible health risks to consumers, Triclosan is still being used in many products on the market today.
Action Item: Read Product Labels
To safeguard your health and be savvy about deodorant safety, read the list of ingredients on product labels before you buy any deodorants, antiperspirants and beauty products. Make sure the products you bring home to your family don’t contain any of these harmful chemicals.
For added protection, you can purchase organic deodorants that are chemical-free from health food stores and some supermarkets in their “Natural Products” aisle.