Q. A friend recently accompanied me to the drugstore where I was buying deodorant along with some other personal items. She warned me not to buy any products containing aluminum because it could cause breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
I never heard of such a thing before but this is very frightening. I couldn’t find a single underarm product without aluminum. Is there any truth to her warning?
A. Most antiperspirants contain aluminum in one form or another, while deodorants do not. Aluminum stops sweating, whereas deodorants primarily neutralize or mask odor.
The idea that aluminum antiperspirants could cause cancer has circulated widely on the Internet. New research (Journal of the Natl. Cancer Inst. Oct 16, 2002) shows no connection between use of antiperspirants and risk of breast cancer.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (Sept 1, 2002) found no link between antiperspirant use and Alzheimer’s disease. This should be comforting, but if you want to make your own deodorant, you can mix baking soda with cornstarch and dust it on.

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