Beware Deodorant

Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, Cover Girl Natural Finish makeup, Crest toothpaste, VO5 hair conditioner, Lysol disinfectant spray: what do these household products all have in common? Studies have shown they all have harmful cancer-causing ingredients.

In 1995 the Cancer Prevention Coalition released the “The Dirty Dozen,” a list that includes 12 products that have been found to contain carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, ingredients. The list ranged from things we drink, like whole milk, to household cleaners like Ajax and weed killers.

In September 1997, the Boston Globe quoted Senators Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch as saying that “the Government Accounting Office has identified 125 cosmetic ingredients suspected of causing cancer. Other ingredients may cause birth defects.”

Many new discoveries have been made about dangerous chemicals in everyday products that can have serious health effects. Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agent found in nearly every shampoo or body wash at your local drug store. Chances are that it’s in your shampoo at home and you don’t even know it.

SLS removes natural, essential oils from your hair and scalp, causing them to dry out. It surrounds hair follicles to keep them from growing, causing hair to thin and fall out. Among other things, it keeps children’s eyes from developing properly, and causes cataracts in older people. Many people do not know about this ingredient, or may choose to ignore it because they don’t think chemicals like this can actually harm them.

There are claims made that aluminum in antiperspirants can lead to breast cancer in women. However there is no sound evidence that these chemicals cause cancer.

A study in US News says that “there is no evidence that antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer. Although a 2004 study heightened concern when researchers found parabens in breast cancer tissue samples, suggesting the chemicals may have caused the tumors, the investigators did not check for the presence of parabens in healthy tissue.”

When it comes to determining which chemicals cause cancer, there are too many lurking variables in studies to get solid proof of which ingredients cause what. Moreover, it’s hard to tell between the studies you can trust and those that intend to make the product look bad.

So next time you are at the drugstore buying shampoo or body wash or any household cleaners, keep in mind the possible danger of certain chemicals.