You've probably heard about the dangers of aluminum salts in anti-perspirants and their link to Alzheimer's Disease. (Several studies have found traces of aluminum in brain matter affected by the disease.) These salts (like aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium and aluminum chlorohydrate) are added to anti-perspirants to shrink the glands in your underarms so you don't sweat. Manufacturers swear by their safety, saying they don't enter the body and pose a health risk. If they don't enter the body, then how, I ask, do they shrink your glands on the inside of your body!
Aluminum aside, there are other ingredients to avoid. I've outlined a few common deodorant ingredients, so get out your deodorant and start checking. And don't think that you're safe just because your deodorant says 'natural" on the label!
Ingredients to avoid:
Propylene Glycol is a penetration enhancer, actually breaking down your skins natural protective barrier and enters your bloodstream, bringing any other chemicals along with it. Fragrance may contain phalates that are proven hormone distruptors, particularly affecting the way the female hormone estrogen works in your body (in men, women, and children).
Tetrasodium EDTA is actualy made from sodium cyanide (a toxic salt) and formaldehyde (a carcinogen). Synthetic colors like FD&C Yellow and D&C Green are made from coal tar, and can be skin irritants, hormone distruptors, and formaldehyde donors. Diazolidinyl Urea is a skin and immune system toxin, and has been shown to cause cancer in some studies. Commonly sourced as an extract from animal urine.
Triethanolamine (TEA) is made from ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, iso, etc) can cause skin irritation and allergies and has been shown in many studies to be a hormone disruptor. Quaternium-15 is a preservative that can contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Bronopol breaks down to create the carcinogens formaldehyde and nitrosamines according to the FDA.
Octoxynol and Nonoxynol are hormone disruptors and should be avoided by children and pregnant women in particular.
Triclosan has been shown to cause liver damage and hormone disruption.
Ceteareth-20 (or 12) is used as a thickener and can be contaminated with carcinogens such as ethylene oxide and dioxane. It is also a neurotoxin, a skin irritant, and has been deemed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review an ingredient not safe for use on injured or damaged skin.
**My own tidbit** Although it has yet to be proven, the question remains, does regular use of antiperspirants increase a woman's risk for developing breast cancer? Obviously I'm no expert, but I do know that a substance put on top of the skin absorbs more quickly into the bloodstream than if you were to ingest it. Which would suggest, considering the skin *is* the largest organ in the body, that constant exposure over many years may pose a risk.
Here are a few non-toxic deodorants (ranked a zero in the EWG's Skin Deep database...the best there is):
Bubble and Bee Organic Odor Bee Gone Truly Herbal 100% Organic Deodorant, Solids and Sprays (my personal fav! Stephanie, the owner, will make you feel like a family member) : Signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and DOES NOT conduct testing on animals.
Crystal Body Deodorant Spray Mist & Natural Deodorant Rock: Also Signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and DOES NOT conduct testing on animals.
Samantharoma Deodorant Mist Unscented & Tea Tree Formula: Signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, not sure if they conduct animal testing.
Do your research, know the facts, and be healthy!