Fact Check: Do aluminum-based antiperspirants cause breast cancer?

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There are no strong epidemiologic studies in the medical literature that link breast cancer risk with the use of antiperspirant. Research is still ongoing.

Quick Take

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An Instagram post claims that aluminum antiperspirants are very damaging and have a major effect on breast cancers. We fact-checked and found this claim to be mostly false. It is true that it forms a temporary “plug” within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. But, the association between aluminum-based antiperspirants and breast cancer is not yet proven.

The Claim

An Instagram reel shares the video of a chiropractor named Patrick Flynn, who responds to the question, “Hey doc, is aluminum deodorant concerning to you?” with, “Very concerning. Plugs the pores, cause[s] a lot of problems, very toxic. I recommend nobody ever use an aluminum-based — it’s actually antiperspirant — and so, do not do that. It’s very damaging and has a major effect on breast cancers. There’s enough research showing that it’s very bad. And actually, what it does to the underarm and what it can do to the breast tissue and lymph nodes, I’m thoroughly against it in every single way.”

Screen shot

Fact Check

How Aluminium is used in our daily life?

Aluminum is naturally found in water, air and soil and is used to make beverage cans, pots and pans, airplanes, siding and roofing, and foil. It is also found in various consumer products, including antacids, astringents, buffered aspirin, food additives, antiperspirants and cosmetics.  

Does aluminium cause cancer?

Not exactly. The carcinogenic effect of aluminium is not yet proven. The CDC states that most aluminium that we consume in the form of food, water, and medicines leaves our bodies quickly in the feces. Firstly, the amount which reaches our bloodstream is very less, and that too quickly leaves the body through urine. The European Food Safety Authority on the “Safety of aluminium from dietary intake” didn’t find the daily exposure high enough to cause problems in healthy adults. However, Aluminium migration seems to depend on several factors, such as the duration and temperature of heating, the composition and the pH value of food, and the presence of other substances (e.g., organic acids, salt and other ions).

The CDC states, “The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the EPA have not evaluated the carcinogenic potential of aluminum in humans. Aluminum has not been shown to cause cancer in animals.”

THIP Media has already busted a similar claim which states that the use of Aluminium cause Cancer and Alzheimer’s

Do aluminum-based antiperspirants cause breast cancer?

Not exactly. Until now, most of the research has not revealed any direct connection between Breast Cancer and deodorants. One of the major reason for concern around deodorants arises from the belief that the chemicals are absorbed in the skin and gets settled in the lymph nodes under the arm. As per the American Cancer Society, this is a false presumption. Their website Cancer.org mentions, “There are no strong epidemiologic studies in the medical literature that link breast cancer risk and antiperspirant use, and very little scientific evidence to support this claim.”

It must be noted that there is a lack of evidence to completely support certain claims which suggest such a connection. Some research suggests that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells, researchers suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of Breast Cancer.

However, various other researchers have concluded that there is no clear evidence that aluminum can lead to Breast Cancer. In 2002, research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute stated that their findings do not support the hypothesis that antiperspirant use increases the risk for breast cancer. Similarly, a subsequent study published in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 2006 found no association with the risk of breast cancer, while family history and oral contraceptives use were found to be associated.

Hence, until now, there is very little scientific evidence to support this claim, as also stated by the American Cancer Society.
THIP Media Take: Current evidence is not insufficient to certainly state that aluminum-based antiperspirants cause breast cancer. Research is still ongoing, and until there is concrete proof associating the two, the claim remains mostly false.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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