Swiss researchers have found that aluminum salts in antiperspirant deodorants cause the same genetic mutations that are found in breast cancer in hamster experiments.
The possible influence of deodorants on the development of breast cancer is a question that the scientific community has debated for years. And a new search published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, last September, adds new data to concerns.
A group of researchers from the University of Oxford and the Foundation des Grangettes, which is part of the renowned Swiss network Clinique des Grangettes, exposed the mammary glands of hamsters, in experiments in vitro, to the aluminum salts which are present in many antiperspirant deodorants.
The results demonstrate that the cells “quickly assimilate the metal”, causing a “genomic instability” and causing “major changes in the physical structure and in the number of chromosomes”, points out one release of the Foundation on the research.
The investigation allows “to demonstrate that the aluminum alters cell DNA by methods equivalent to those of recognized carcinogens, thus confirming their carcinogenic potential“, highlights the same statement.
“The results indicate that aluminum drives breast cells towards malignant transformation by a rapid genome destabilization effect“, notes the Foundation.
These conclusions must now “convince health authorities to formally recognize the risk that chronic exposure to aluminum represents for human health”, points out the same entity, concluding that they should “restrict” its use by the cosmetic industry.
“More than 80% of tumors arise near the armpit”
The two researchers who led the research, biologist Stefano Mandriota and oncologist André-Pascal Sappino, had already made associations between aluminum and cancer-related genetic modifications in their past research, namely in 2012 and 2016, in laboratory studies with rats and with human cells.
Now, in this new research, they have been able to explain the mechanism by which aluminum penetrates into cells and to associate the genomic instability verified, in this process, with the most malignant tumors.
However, the researchers admit that the research results do not allow establish a causal link evident between deodorants and breast cancer. To confirm this possible link, studies would need to be carried out over several years, they warn.
Despite this, they suggest the ban on the use of aluminum salts in the cosmetic industry, just in case.
And Sappino really highlights that “more than 80% of tumors [de cancro da mama] appear on the outside of the glans, the one that is close to the armpit”, according to statements to France Inter.
For the rest, the Fundação des Grangettes stresses that this new research “maps”, for aluminum, “a path that has already been seen before for proven carcinogens, such as tobacco or asbestos“, “substances whose toxicity was also initially underestimated, if not totally ignored”.
The Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (CSSC) of the European Union published, in March 2020, a report noting that deodorants do not pose a risk to the health of their users as long as they contain a concentration of aluminum less than 10.6% in sprays and 6.25% in other versions. These levels are higher than the concentration values of products usually sold on the market.