This post is in initial build-out status and may change.
General Information: Wikipedia entry.
Studied Risks: General health
Overall Score: -2.15
Behind the Score: The score is only slightly negative because aluminum, although widely rumored to be a cause of diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s, has not been definitively proven to cause any health problems other than isolated instances of contact dermatitis or granulomas. 1 2 However, relatively few clinical studies have been conducted. Of those, a large prospective study in France that covered 8- and 15-year intervals showed Alzheimer’s incidence rose as aluminum concentrations in drinking water increased (and fell as silica concentrations rose). 3 4 However, some other studies did not corroborate those results. 5 6 Another inconclusive study showed increased risk for use of aluminum-containing antiperspirant but decreased risk for use of aluminum-containing antacids (though much higher risk for use of all antacids “regardless of aluminum content”). Consider that at least hundreds of millions of people worldwide use aluminum-containing antiperspirants. 7
Warnings and Special Notes: See the research studies noted above for possible adverse effects of aluminum.
What Now? More rigorous study is warranted, since no direct effects have been proven. In the meantime, caution (as with discretion) may be the better part of valor.
What Can I Do? To address the possible links found by researchers, deodorants without aluminum (or parabens, another possibly toxic substance) are readily available and reasonably priced at health stores.
Also, if you’re a U.S. resident, you can check aluminum levels in your tap water by entering your ZIP code to view the Environmental Working Group’s database for your local area.
- Allergic contact dermatitis from aluminium in deodorants. Contact Dermatitis, 2010. ↩
- Aerosol antiperspirants and axillary granulomata. British Medical Journal, 1984. ↩
- Relation between aluminum concentrations in drinking water and Alzheimer’s disease: an 8-year follow-up study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2000. ↩
- Aluminum and silica in drinking water and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline: findings from 15-year follow-up of the PAQUID cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2009. ↩
- Failure to find a relationship between mnestic skills of octogenarians and aluminum in drinking water. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 1991. ↩
- Aluminum concentrations in drinking water and risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Epidemiology, 1997. ↩
- The association between aluminum-containing products and Alzheimer’s disease.. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 1990. ↩
- Apocrine sweat gland obstruction by antiperspirants allowing transdermal absorption of cutaneous generated hormones and pheromones as a link to the observed incidence rates of breast and prostate cancer in the 20th century. Medical Hypotheses, 2009. ↩
- Concentration of aluminium in breast cyst fluids collected from women affected by gross cystic breast disease. Journal of Applied Toxicology, 2009. ↩