| Shannon Dickinson
Why choose a natural deodorant?
Sweating is your body’s natural mechanism for cooling down. Sweat has no odour but the bacteria living on your skin metabolizes the proteins and fatty acids from it, which causes odour. Deodorants deal with the odour by killing and/or neutralizing the bacteria directly and antiperspirants use aluminum which acts to block sweat ducts from producing sweat in the first place.
Deodorants can be natural or not. Many contain hormone disrupters like parabens or phthalates, which can damage one’s liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive systems. Synthetic fragrances and scents do not need to be divulged on their ingredients list other than ‘fragrance’ and often contain very toxic and/or unregulated ingredients in them. Earth Mind and Body Essentials has developed an all natural, (mostly organic) deodorant that contains none of these ingredients, but is still very effective yet gentle on your skin.
But why not aluminum? Isn’t aluminum everywhere? Why is it considered toxic?
Aluminum is one of the newest metals to be discovered by humans. It doesn’t occur as a metal in its natural state and needs to be processed and manufactured for its everyday use. Generally, It is processed in two phases. First bauxite (a clay-like soil and the world’s main source of aluminum) is mined and refined with chemicals to produce aluminum oxide (alumina). The alumina then goes through a smelting treatment (the extraction of metal from its ore) by a method involving heating and melting into molten cryolite, to release pure aluminum.
In the last century and a half since Aluminum was discovered, it has been produced into almost every sphere of human life. It is the third most abundant element found on earth but is not a necessary trace metal to human life at all and despite it being shown to be toxic to plants, animals and humans (Sparling and Campbell, 1997) it is still processed and used in our everyday items. Aluminum is currently used in some cosmetics like lipstick and lip gloss; it is also contained in our toothpaste tubes, pop can linings, utensils, cookware, most vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, antacids, baking powder, buffered medications, sunscreens, tinfoil, building materials and more. Miu reviews an overview of the research literature in detail and finds that aluminum has shown to accumulate over time in our brains and has been found in amyloidal plaques of Alzheimer’s patients. Also, research shows that the level of aluminum in our water correlates succinctly with the incidence of Alzheimer’s in that same region (Miu, AC 2006).
But Aluminum is in our food and our water, so it must be okay, right?
Aluminum is often touted as safe due to the fact that it is so abundant in our water and our food supplies. But there is a reason for this. Air pollution from burning fossil fuels causes sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to mix in the air producing acid rain. Acid rain produces toxic aluminum ions that then drop into our soil (ending up in our food) and water reservoirs (which leach into our water supply), and can have detrimental effects on our environment. Aluminum sulphate is also used to treat our water for less turbidity. Aluminum hydroxide and Sodium Aluminate are by-products of this process and are present in our drinking water (Strunecka, A., and Blaylock, Russell L. 2010). So it really isn’t naturally occurring in a place that we have bioavailable access to it except by our own means of production. And we don’t need aluminum at all in our life cycle. And we can see the effects of our fossil fuel usage in the form of acid rain which in turn is seen in the drying of forests, poisoning of plants, crop decline and/or failure, death of aquatic animals and also by various imbalances in the function of human and animal systems, particularly the central nervous system and the brain (Barabasz et al, 2002).
So is one form of Aluminum ‘safer’ than another?
Aluminum can be manufactured into different forms and compounds by using different processing methods. Aluminum chlorohydrate is an aluminum group of salts that is made by reacting aluminum with hydrochloric acid. Its most common use is in deodorants and antiperspirants because it alters the pH balance of the skin and the production of sweat by embedding itself within one’s sweat ducts. Other popular aluminum compounds used for the same purpose are aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium, potassium alum (made by combining aluminum sulfate and potassium sulfate) or ammonia alum (made by combining aluminate sulfate with ammonia sulfate. The alums are commonly marketed as ‘deodorant crystals’ and said to be a different kind of aluminum but it is still toxic.
Sometimes it is said that the potassium alum molecule is too big to be absorbed by the skin, but some of the aluminum will dissolve in body sweat and form solvated aluminum ions which could transport across the skin's membrane and into the blood stream. When Potassium Alum is exposed to water (sweat), the lattice structure disintegrates resulting in the release of potassium ions, aluminum ions, and sulphate ions. So, in aqueous solution, there really isn't something that you could call "Potassium Alum" floating around - just its constituent parts – potassium, aluminum and sulphate ions. That said, the compound doesn't completely break up. Some of the aluminum and sulphate ions will still hang out. In its simplest form, aluminum typically occurs in aqueous solution as a hydroxide species. Further, aluminum can be chelated by naturally occurring organic compounds. So this is why this is not a viable solution to use as a deodorant because aluminum breaks down and still eventually crosses the blood-barrier in the brain. Also, aluminum hydroxide, a white cosmetic opacifying agent, is often added to ammonium alum crystals and you can tell because the deodorant crystal it makes is less clear than its counterparts of potassium alum. Other aluminum compounds are used as well with similar results. Unfortunately, it is well known that aluminum (no matter which compound it is made into) is a neurotoxin and this poses significant risks over time for users of these kind of deodorants, particularly for those looking to avoid developing Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, or other neurodegenerative disorders, later in life.
Originally, patients going for dialysis received aluminum hydroxide in the solutions of their dialysis. The following symptoms began to arrive: cognitive impairment, neurotoxicity, bone weakness, kidney failure, inflammation of the gallbladder, gallstones, parasitic infections, arthritis, cirrhosis, muscle wasting, and chronic pancreatitis. Following the observation that high levels of aluminum in dialysis fluid could cause a form of dementia in these patients, a number of studies were carried out to determine if aluminum could cause dementia or cognitive impairment as a consequence of environmental exposure over long periods. Aluminum was indeed identified in the amyloid plaques that are one of the diagnostic lesions in the brain for Alzheimer disease, which is a common form of senile and pre-senile dementia (EFSA, 2008) and shows a lifelong accumulation of it in the brain plaques that cause the neuro-generative disease.
Aluminum has been considered non carcinogenic despite few studies done and an association between higher cancer levels in those who have inhaled aluminum dust and aluminum compounds during production/processing work. Consequently, it is considered that there is insufficient data to establish a clear causal relationship between the use of underarm aluminum-based antiperspirants and breast cancer although there is evidence of a relationship nonetheless (Afssaps, 2011).
The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety considers that Aluminium (Al) is a known neurotoxicant (SCCS 2014) and there has been evidence to link this metal with several neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease (Miu and Benga, 2006; Percy et al., 2011), Parkinson’s diseases (Oyanagi, 2005) and other chronic neurodegenerative diseases (Bondy, 2010). Consequently, they recommend exposure to Aluminum be avoided as much as possible (SCCS 2014).
How is Aluminum absorbed in to the body?
Aluminum is absorbed through the digestive tract, by inhalation and/or by the skin. Drug companies commonly use transdermal patches to deliver medications through your skin as an alternative yet effective method of delivery (Prausnitz 2008). Applying chemicals directly on your skin may be as, if not more effective, than swallowing them. Associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University, Heather Patisaul, Ph.D., is quoted in Time Magazine, saying: “When you eat something, it’s broken down by your liver and digestive system. But when you put something on your skin, there are times when it can enter your bloodstream without being metabolized.”
So it is definitely still a concern even if you are not receiving aluminum intravenously (eg., in a vaccination) and only putting it on your skin daily in the form of a deodorant/anti-perspirant. Earth Mind and Body Essentials strives to make its products from as simple, natural, organic and wild-crafted ingredients as possible, that are not shown to be toxic to the body and ideally are known to be protective and/or nourishing, so your own body can take care of itself, without having to battle your body care products in order to support you. Please visit our shop now and purchase one of our amazingly effective, yet gentle and protective deodorants, that will not contribute to toxic (metal) chemical overload in your body.
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