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Antiperspirant/Deodorant Breast Cancer

There has been a rumor circulating on the Internet for years alleging that antiperspirant/deodorant products may be a cause of breast cancer. Given the seriousness of the breast cancer issue, P&G Beauty & Grooming understands why women would be concerned by such rumors. There is no scientific or medical evidence, however, to suggest the use of antiperspirants causes breast cancer. Neither the American Cancer Society nor the National Cancer Institute has recommendations against the use of antiperspirants and both organizations have issued statements on their websites refuting this false rumor.

As cited on these government websites, a large-scale epidemiological study conducted by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2002; 94(20):1578-1580) clearly refutes any possible link between antiperspirant use and breast cancer.

In 2005, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel also considered all of the available data relating to these allegations and concluded:

"...there are insufficient data to establish a clear link between the use of underarm cosmetics and breast cancer. The authors of the studies that led to the suggestion of a connection between the use of underarm cosmetics and breast cancer, clearly state that they did not have the intention to prove such a link. In addition, two recent epidemiological studies on the use of underarm cosmetics in relation to breast cancer exist. The authors of these studies could not establish a relationship between the use of underarm deodorants and antiperspirants and the occurrence of breast cancer."

Furthermore, in 2005, the E.U.'s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) issued an opinion on the issue of paraben use in underarm products and the cancer rumors. The conclusion stated:

"It is the opinion of the SCCP that, viewing the current knowledge, there is no evidence of demonstrable risk for the development of breast cancer caused by the use of underarm cosmetics." 

"Taking into consideration the answer (above) and viewing the fact that the estrogenic potential of parabens has been found to be very low, it is the opinion of the SCCP that, in the light of the present knowledge, there is no evidence of demonstrable risk for the development of breast cancer caused by the use of paraben-containing underarm cosmetics."

In summary, here are the facts in regards to the antiperspirant/deodorant and breast cancer myth:

  • Antiperspirants are not found in concentrated amounts in the breast tissue, even though the underarm is close to the breast.
  • Antiperspirants do not trap "toxins" in the body.
  • Toxins are eliminated from the body mainly through urine and feces, NOT perspiration. Sweat is not a significant route for eliminating toxins from the body.
  • Reducing perspiration in the underarm does not affect the body's ability to regulate temperature or its ability to excrete substances of any kind.
  • Antiperspirants are not a cause of breast cancer.


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