Aluminium. What do you naturally associate with the word? Most people might say: metal, cans, door frames, beams or other construction materials, but as of late if someone proposed that question to me, I would answer ‘deodorant’. I find it a little off that I would be identifying such a metal with a substance that goes on my skin, especially one that I put directly on open pores that are supposed to dispel toxins from my body, not let them in.
I came to draw this association after wandering up and down the deodorant aisle at my local chemist warehouse, trying to find an antiperspirant that didn’t contain Aluminium Chlorohydrate, and being very unsuccessful. I was searching for an alternative for my tea tree based roll on (something my mum gave me after being concerned about the aluminium in my regular deodorant) as I don’t particularly enjoy smelling like a disinfectant, and was surprised to find that even brands advertising the words ‘natural’ and ‘mineral’ on their packaging, still had that dreaded aluminium high on their ingredient lists. There really isn’t much choice in the way of ‘aluminium free’ on the shelves of chemists or supermarkets. Sure, there seems to be a lot of options on the internet, but I’m not so accustomed to having my personal hygiene items shipped to me, as if I run out of deodorant I’m more likely to put it on my mum’s shopping list than hop on a computer.
With all this uproar on my part about the lack of deodorant options, I’d like to make it clear that I am aware that there is still open debate on the fact that aluminium in deodorants is actually harmful. Some people like to point out the lack of evidence or the inconclusive testing of those who are adamant that it is harmful. Trolling the various internet pages on the subject, one study keeps popping up in people’s arguments against the harm of aluminium in deodorant, a study that found high levels of aluminium in the breast tissue closest to the skin of 17 patients diagnosed with breast cancer. They say that it was too small a test group, that there wasn’t a control, and that women who didn’t have breast cancer weren’t tested, and that other parts of the body of patients weren’t tested for aluminium either. My thought about this was: if they’re not satisfied with the research, then why don’t they do their own?
If aluminium isn’t harmful then why have there been regulations put in place for companies to clearly display that they have the substance in their products? Why are some even required to but black warning labels on their cans saying that aluminium may be harmful to health?
Yes, the debate is still out on this subject matter, and it looks to me like it’s not going to be settled any time soon. I mean what company is going to hold themselves accountable for adding to the risk of disease? So I conclude that perhaps smelling like a pungent tree leaf isn’t so bad, it’s better than B.O, and for all I know it could be saving me from turning my body into a poison dumping ground.