You just got out of the shower and reached for your favorite deodorant. You like it because it smells nice and it keeps your underarms dry and odor free. You’ve used it for a long time. But did you ever read the ingredients on the label and wonder about the safety of the almost unpronounceable chemicals listed in the too tiny to read print?
If not, you’re like most people. You don’t expect to find products on store shelves that contain harmful ingredients. But beware. The ingredients in many deodorant products could endanger your health.
Certainly, you’ve heard in the news recently about the possible association with deodorants and breast cancer. Maybe you’ve even heard about the possibility that aluminum in deodorants may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. And you may or may not know about ingredients which act like estrogen and can upset your hormonal balance.
Perhaps you’ve heard all these things and just shrugged them off. After all how could companies sell these products if they’re not safe? The manufacturers certainly must test the ingredients and the products before they put them on the market, right? Well, not exactly! The law does not require manufacturers to test their products for safety. In fact, except for colors and a few banned ingredients, manufacturers can use any raw material they want as an ingredient in your deodorant. Most of the ingredients used in deodorant and other personal care products have not been fully tested. Many have never been tested at all.
The industry, in an attempt to make it look like it’s acting in the interest of consumer safety, formed the Cosmetic Ingredient Review in 1976 to evaluate the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products. However, in the 29 years up to June 2005, they performed safety assessments on only about 10% of the ingredients allowed in cosmetic and personal care products, including deodorants, and never evaluated one third of the 50 most commonly used ingredients.
But, you might add, the FDA wouldn’t allow companies to sell unsafe products to the public, right? Well, in theory! While the FDA urges manufacturers to conduct the tests necessary to substantiate the safety of their products, the law does not require manufacturers to test their products for safety. The FDA doesn’t approve deodorants and antiperspirants or any other cosmetic or skin care products before they reach the marketplace. The FDA can only have a product removed from the market if they can prove it harmful in a court of law.
So, what does this mean for you? Does it mean you should stop using deodorant? What can you do to protect yourself? Well, you have several options. You can discover the secret to reading ingredient labels and ascertaining ingredient safety, making yourself a master of choosing products without harmful ingredients. You can ask someone who knows to recommend a safe deodorant or antiperspirant. Or you can get adventuresome and learn how to make your own.
Now, it really isn’t necessary to go to the time and trouble of making your own, unless of course you want to. You can find healthy deodorant products in stores or online if you know how to read labels and determine ingredient safety. Once an almost impossible task for the average person, but no more. Now you can easily master the art of label reading and interpretation with the book, Dying To Look Good. It gives you the keys to deciphering the safety of the ingredients on the label of your deodorant and other personal care products as well as providing names of healthy products and where you can buy them.
© 2006 Christine H. Farlow, D.C., “The Ingredients Investigator” and author of Dying To Look Good.