The health concerns of deodorant is a confusing subject. There isn’t clear evidence that these products are harmful but there are enough concerns to make me wary and choose a natural alternative. But another motivation to avoid regular deodorants and antiperspirants is to reduce waste. There have been many health issues raised about these products. One is about aluminium in antiperspirants. This is used to form a barrier to prevent the sweat being released. Aluminium salts from antiperspirants may be absorbed through your skin and collect in breast tissue. There are worries that too much aluminium may change how the body makes or responds to the female hormone oestrogen.
While there is no current scientific evidence that directly links aluminum to cancers and other health conditions, I am not taking any chances.
Regular roll on deodorants often contain the toxic trio of triclosan, phthalates and parabens, all of which are linked to health and environmental harm. Triclosan has been linked to breast cancer. DEHP is one type of phthalate commonly used in cosmetic products. It is believed to affect the endocrine system, interfering with normal hormone balnce. Parabens have been found in cancerous cells in breast tissue raising worries that long term use of underarm products may be responsible. None of the studies to date have been conclusive but I choose to play safe and avoid these chemicals.
Aerosols emit VOCs which affect the ozone layer. When inhaled or absorbed through the skin, VOCs can cause severe health issues in humans. Aerosols used in unventilated areas can generate dangerous toxins. If exposed to high quantities, humans can experience headaches, dizziness, memory loss and visual impairment.
Let’s assume every adult buys deodorant six times per year, that would amount to 330 million bottles or cans. That’s a lot of waste that we as individuals could do something about.
You are probably thinking, but I can recycle these containers so what’s the problem? Most people feel reassured if packaging can be recycled but the actual process of recycling is costly and still has an environmental impact.
And it’s not always clear what can be recycled. Councils accept empty antiperspirant aerosol cans for recycling. But many conventional roll ons are made of mixed plastics so can’t be recycled easily. I have searched several Scottish council websites to find out about recycling of roll on deodorant bottles without any success. None specifically referred to them.
The result is confusion. Either they are being put in landfill because householders are uncertain what to do with them or they are being placed in recycling bins and potentially contaminating the load.
So, there’s confusion about health effects and confusion about recycling. My advice is to avoid plastics and dodgy chemicals altogether and try out our natural plastic free deodorant from one of our new favourite brands OchVegan.
[image credit Clean Wal-Mart]