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In recent decades, there has been a growing concern that the use of aluminum deodorant could cause Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer. These concerns were largely fueled during the 1990s with chain e-mails that warned of the dangers of aluminum. Without any major scientific study to back up such claims, some have said that concerns are little more that trumped-up rumors. Others, however, remain suspicious that science has merely not yet understood how the body reacts to repeated interaction with aluminum, and believe more tests need to be conducted before a verdict can be reached.
Aluminum provides the antiperspirant feature so many enjoy in their deodorant. It prevents the armpit from sweating by actually sealing off pores. Thus, no moisture comes out of the skin, which not only prevents sweating but also helps further reduce unwanted odors. Concerns about how aluminum may negatively react with the body are therefore twofold: there are fears that sealed pores prevent the escape of toxins that the body needs to sweat out, and fears that aluminum absorbed into the body may cause harm.
Due to the armpit's proximity to the breast, some fear that aluminum deodorant could be a cause of breast cancer. More specifically, there are concerns that aluminum could trap harmful substances under the skin near the breast, or that it may be absorbed into the skin and cause harm. To date, however, there have been no studies that show any such correlation. Even institutes dedicated to finding causes of and cures for cancer acknowledge that no connection between aluminum deodorant and cancer has been made. Studies have shown concentrations of aluminum in benign breast cysts, but that is not considered proof that aluminum can cause breast cancer.
The correlation between aluminum deodorant and Alzheimer's disease is much the same as it is with breast cancer. Although scientists and doctors have found amounts of aluminum in the brains of people who suffered from Alzheimer's, there has been no evidence to suggest that aluminum is a cause for the disease. The source of concern again comes from the suspicion that the body is absorbing toxic amounts of aluminum through the armpit.
While there are concerns that the body may absorb dangerous levels of aluminum when using deodorant, the reality is that we consume far more aluminum in our water, processed foods, antacids and other products. Aluminum is highly soluble, meaning that out of all the aluminum that enters the body, very little is actually absorbed. If aluminum were to be a source of cancer or Alzheimer's disease, it would likely be through some other source than deodorant. The medical community has by no means declared case closed over concerns about aluminum deodorant and harmful diseases, but as of yet there is little if any significant evidence to indicate a need for serious alarm.