The aluminum salts found in many antiperspirants could increase the risk of breast cancer. Other risk factors, such as shaving the armpits before using antiperspirants, may heighten the risk even further.

Mimics Estrogen

Aluminum salts, which account for 25 percent of the volume of some antiperspirants, can mimic the hormone estrogen. Chemicals that imitate that hormone are known to affect breast cancer risk.

Higher Risk ActivitiesGiven that antiperspirants are used in the armpit, the aluminum salt concentration is highest near the breasts. Applying antiperspirants immediately after shaving will also result in a higher aluminum salt absorption rate due to damaged skin.

Journal of Applied Toxicology February 17, 2006Forbes.com March 6, 2006CBS News March 1, 2006

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

One of the more common and harmful waysyou can beexposed to toxic metals like aluminum isusing an antiperspirant.

The rising risk of breast cancer is unquestionably related to abnormal hormone exposures. It appears that antiperspirantsmimic and influence the estrogen activity that leads to this form of cancer. Fortunately, reducing your exposure is pretty simple, since you can use ordinary soap and water to keep your body clean and free of odor.

I have not used antiperspirants for over 20 years and haven't lost any friends as a result of it. I did not stop initially because of the cancer risk but I noticed that it stained all the shirts I was wearing. I was also a struggling medical student and deeply in debt at the time; the last thing I needed was an unnecessary expense.

So I nixed the antiperspirant and vigorously washed my underarms every day with soap and water. I remained odor free despite running 50 miles per week at the time. I also stopped staining my shirts and saved a bundle there also.

Interestingly, deodorant-only productsaren't typically as harmful for your health as are antiperspirants, as most are aluminum free. I would also advise to avoid using them, though,unless they're made from some form of baking soda.

You may want to review a study I posted last year about the dubious safety of cosmetics you may be using.

A couple of years ago the Environmental Working Group (EWG)found thatonly 28 common cosmetics and toiletries out of 7,500 had all of its ingredients fully tested for safety. If you want to learn about the potential toxicity of your cosmetics, I urge you to review the EWG's extensive "Skin Deep Report." There, you will be able to search the products that you use on a daily basis and find out how safe they really are.

If you want to be safe:

  • Only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available or you can search for them online.
  • Switch over to natural brands of toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. Same sources here, either your local health food store or you can search online.

    If you are concerned about the numerous toxic chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis, I strongly urge you to read Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call. The author, Dr. Doris Rapp, does a thorough job of uncovering the many ways we are exposed to toxic chemicals and how they take a toll on our health and contribute to many chronic diseases.

    Author's Bio: 

    This article is reprinted from Mercola.com, the world's #1 most visited and trusted natural/alternative health website. For a limited time only, you can take the FREE "Metabolic Type Test" to help you learn the right foods for your particular body type so you can achieve optimal fitness & health. Just go to http://www.mercola.com/forms/mt_test.htm right now to take this quick test!