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March 1, 2006

Scented Underarm Antiperspirants May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Topics: Medicine

Underarm antiperspirants may contribute to the risk of breast cancer because they contain aluminum salts with metal ions that mimic the effect of estrogen. Until recently, it was thought that such estrogen-mimicking substances were uniformly organic, either phenolic or carbon ring structures. However, according to Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., of the University of Reading, evidence is mounting that some metals can also binding to estrogen receptors.

The underarm connection arises from the fact that aluminum -- which, as aluminum salts, comprises up to 25% of some antiperspirants -- appears to be one of those estrogen-mimicking metals. It joins a growing list of so-called "metalloestrogens," including antimony, arsenite, barium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenite, tin, and vanadate.

A range of substances, most of them organic, have been shown to mimic estrogen, and may increase the risk of breast cancer. This review suggests that metal ions, including those derived from the aluminum salts in antiperspirants, may have similar effects, although more research is needed to identify the specific risks.

Posted by Richard at March 1, 2006 10:54 PM

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