Is the Aluminum in Antiperspirants Harmful?
Your Doctor FriendsApril 09, 2024

Is the Aluminum in Antiperspirants Harmful?

In the 1990s, a chain email circulated around the series-of-tubes we called the internet, suggesting that aluminum-containing antiperspirants clogged your sweat pores, thus disallowing your body to “purge itself of toxins”, and those "toxins" would accumulate in your axillary lymph nodes, and increase your risk of breast cancer. Yikes.

Predating the "antiperspirant-will-give-you-breast-cancer" chain email scare, animal studies in the 1960s suggested a link between aluminum in antiperspirants (which were just becoming popular in postwar America) and Alzheimer's disease. These rabbit studies showed brain neurotoxic effects when the animals were exposed to very high levels of aluminum.

In the past several decades, researchers have investigated whether these loose correlations/hypotheses held any water (spoiler: they don't). In today's episode, Your Doctor Friends want to debunk and demystify the data around the potential "risks' around aluminum-containing antiperspirants!

Should you ditch the standard roll-on? Switch to a "natural" alternative?

OR.. is this all just a case of "all stink and no fire"??

Sources for today's episode include:

The NIH National Cancer Institute's fact sheet page on antiperspirants and breast cancer.

A 2017 review in Deutsches Arzteblatt International journal titled "The Health Effects of Aluminum Exposure."

A 2019 comprehensive review on sweat gland function by Lindsay B. Baker PhD, director of the Gatorade Sport Science Institute.

A Scientific American article titled "Fact or Fiction: Antiperspirants Do More Than Block Sweat".

A 2021 Canadian study published in NeuroToxicology investigating association between aluminum in drinking water and risk of Alzheimer's disease risk.

A Healthline article from 2022 titled "Is There a Link Between Aluminum and Alzheimer's?".

A 2021 NYT article titled "Are Natural Deodorants Really Better For You?".

AND FINALLY- a 2017 article from The World Textile Conference called "A novel washing algorithm for underarm stain removal" - which was the closest thing to scientific data explaining WHAT MAKES YELLOW ARMPIT STAINS!

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