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How Dangerous is Aluminum for People? What’s in Your Armpit?

Have you ever wondered how dangerous is aluminum? It is all around us and is used in everything from antacids to antiperspirants.

No doubt you have seen the commercial that repeatedly asks: What’s in your wallet? That, of course, is the Capital One ad. We have a different question: What’s in your armpit? If you use an antiperspirant we guarantee it is aluminum. Is there any absorption? That’s a question that has not been well answered. How dangerous is aluminum if it is absorbed?

Consider sunscreens for a moment. We have all been slathering on sunscreens for decades without a second thought. It wasn’t until the FDA announced that ingredients in sunscreen are absorbed through the skin (JAMA, Jan. 21, 2020) that we became concerned.

We suspect that there is some aluminum absorption from your armpit into your body. Would you like an aluminum-free deodorant? We’ve got one you just might love. Read on to learn more about MoM (Milk of Magnesia) for your underarms. For the next 10 days we are offering a 20% discount on this herbal fragrance product. Just use the discount code August20 when checking out. It is good until August 8, 2022. If you do not like the fragrance you get your money back!

Are You Exposed to Aluminum?

We have been asking the question for years: how dangerous is aluminum? The FDA, on the other hand, not only thinks aluminum is completely safe, it insists it must be used in all antiperspirants. In fact you cannot sell an antiperspirant in the United States unless your product has aluminum. Doubt us? Just look on the label. You will find ingredients such as aluminum chlorohydrate or some other aluminum salt in all antiperspirants.

So, How Dangerous is Aluminum?

Researchers have been debating this question for decades. Here is a recent article in the journal Neurotoxicology (July 14, 2022). The authors studied aluminum chloride (AlCl3) in Zebrafish. By the way, aluminum chloride is found in some OTC antiperspirants:

The authors state:

“Aluminium is a metal known to cause neurotoxicity in the brain, by promoting neurodegeneration and affecting memory and cognitive ability. AlCl3 has been reported to enhance reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inflammatory markers which are further responsible for the degeneration of neurons. AlCl3exposure to zebrafish causes behavioral, biochemical, and neurochemical changes in the brain.”

These researchers note that zebrafish were affected negatively by exposure to aluminum chloride:

“These findings suggest that AlCl3significantly causes behavioral, biochemical, neurotransmitters, morphological, and molecular changes in zebrafish, ultimately causing AD [Alzheimer’s disease].”

What About Aluminum Pots and Pans?

For years, American scientists have made fun of people who worried about exposure to aluminum. Cooks were told that they did not have to worry about pots and pans made out of aluminum.

A small study published in the Indian Journal of Public Health (April-June, 2022) challenges that wisdom:

“Aluminum vessels are being used from a long time for various cooking purpose. Using cross-sectional study design, 90 participants, 30 in each category of normal, mild – moderate and severe Alzheimer’s disease (AD), aged of 60 years and above were enrolled using SAGE scale.

“Results showed that severity of AD was significantly associated (P < 0.05) with usage of aluminum utensils for various cooking purpose in all the three groups, with least total score for usage of aluminum vessels in normal category (3.2) and highest in severe category (18.67).

“Degree of AD positively correlated with usage of aluminum vessels.”

We are not ready to say that using aluminum pots and pans increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but why use something that remains controversial after all these years.

More Aluminum Research:

We will fast forward to the journal Morphologie, June, 2016. The entire issue of this French journal is devoted to the question, how dangerous is aluminum?

Aluminum and the Brain?

One article discusses the impact aluminum has on the genetic signaling programs in the brain “that bear a surprising resemblance to those observed in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain.” 

Aluminum and the Breast?

Another researcher discusses the impact of antiperspirants on the breast:

“The human population is exposed to aluminium (Al) from diet, antacids and vaccine adjuvants, but frequent application of Al-based salts to the underarm as antiperspirant adds a high additional exposure directly to the local area of the human breast. Coincidentally the upper outer quadrant of the breast is where there is also disproportionately high incidence of breast cysts and breast cancer. Al has been measured in human breast tissues/fluids at higher levels than in blood, and experimental evidence suggests that at physiologically relevant concentrations, Al can adversely impact on human breast epithelial cell biology…”

Aluminum and the Digestive Tract?

A completely new-to-us concept published in Morphologie has to do with the digestive tract. The article is titled: Gut: An Underestimated Target Organ for Aluminum.” The authors note that:

“Although still poorly documented to date, the impact of oral exposure to aluminum in conditions relevant to real human exposure appears to be deleterious for gut homeostasis. Aluminum ingestion affects the regulation of the permeability, the microflora and the immune function of intestine.”

The Aluminum Controversy Won’t Go Away!

Many health professionals have assumed that concerns about aluminum toxicity in humans have been completely put to rest and there is no reason for concern. We disagree. Over the last decade or so there have been thousands of articles devoted to questions about aluminum toxicity.

Here is an article we wrote on this topic a couple of years ago:

Should You Worry About Aluminum Exposure?

and this:

Aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There a Connection?

We do not have a final answer on the big question: How Dangerous is Aluminum? It could take another decade to find out if there really is a problem or if this is all a tempest in a teapot.

Parallels to Sunscreens?

We suspect that most FDA officials don’t think much about aluminum in antiperspirants. Of course these folks didn’t think much about the chemicals in sunscreens either. They probably assumed that what you put on your skin stays on your skin. they were wrong. You can read about this in detail at the following link:

JAMA Study Proves Sunscreens ARE Absorbed into Bloodstream
A second FDA-sponsored study reveals that many popular sunscreens are absorbed through the skin and get into the circulation. How worrisome is this finding?

Aluminum-Free MoM Deodorant:

We like to err on the side of caution. That is why we came up with aluminum-free milk of magnesia (MoM) underarm deodorants.

A reader told us many years ago that MoM is a terrific way to control underarm odor. We tried it ourselves and liked the result. That eventually led us to create a variety of products including:

Our old standby, Unscented Aluminum-Free MoM Roll-on Deodorant

Kelley in Boston gave this product 5 stars! She went on to say:

“Beyond expectations!

“I was desperate for a deodorant that was free of sunflower and coconut due to allergies. This is the most amazing product. I don’t smell and it has not irritated my skin! It does need to dry before you put clothing on or you will get white marks, but that’s a small price to pay for such a great working product. The roll on lasted me a few months and the reorder arrived fast. I tried the scented ones, which are both lovely smelling, but I prefer unscented.”

Fran in Washington, DC called our MoM deodorant a “needle in a haystack”

“I’m allergic to every other deodorant I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a whole lot of them…)! Please never stop making this.”

Joel in Virginia says “Unbelievably Good!”

“I could not believe how well this works, with no aluminum. I have been so happy, my wife will hug me again!”

Try MoM at NO RISK!

If you do not like MoM we will absolutely refund your money! Here is our promise:

“If you are unsatisfied with your order for any reason, The People’s Pharmacy will replace it or refund your money. Your customer satisfaction is our number one priority.”

Want a fragrance AND a discount? Look no further:

Between now and August 8, 2022 we are offering a 20% discount on our herbal fragrance milk of magnesia roll-on deodorant. We think this fragrance is fabulous. We have called the product Men’s MoM but it really works for everyone. Please use the code August20 when you check out to get the discount!

Men’s MoM Aluminum-Free Roll-On Deodorant

Want to try all three products:

People’s Pharmacy Aluminum-Free Roll-On Deodorant Sampler

Want to read more customer reactions? Here they are:

Read the reviews

The only product on sale, though, is this one. Please remember the discount code: August20. It is good until 8/8/22.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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