A basic part of our morning hygiene routine, Americans spend more than 18 billion dollars a year on antiperspirants and deodorants. With their frequent use, deodorant use can contribute to frequent exposure to potential hazards.
Classified and regulated as cosmetics by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, deodorants prevent body odors by killing the bacteria that causes the odor. Antiperspirants are considered an over-the-counter drug that affects the underarm sweat glands and prevents sweating. Some health issues associated with using deodorant and antiperspirants include:
- Health concerns — Ingredients in many deodorant products can carry human health concerns. Some of the most popular deodorants include ingredients that have been restricted for use in Canada like Aluminum Chlorohydrate, ingredients like Propylene Glycol that are suspected of causing toxicity to respiratory, skin and sense organs, and known allergens like Citronellol.
- Ingredient disclosure — Most personal care products do not provide complete lists of their ingredients on their label, because current regulations allow manufacturers to use the generic term “fragrance” rather than disclose the constituents of the fragrance component. In addition, product labels rarely contain information about percent composition (needed to assess potential exposures). These data gaps e make it impossible to fully assess whether there are chemicals of health concern in a product or whether the levels of those chemicals pose potential health risks.
- Inadequate regulation — Personal care products are not subject to safety reviews by the FDA before they are put on the market, and the agency is frequently criticized for its lax approach to regulation. The European Union, for example, has banned the use of more than 1,000 substances in cosmetics; in contrast, the FDA has only prohibited the use of eight substances in cosmetics. There is widespread skepticism that the current regulatory system is sufficiently protective of human health.
Tips to Choosing a top rated Deodorant or Antiperspirant:
- Choose a product that only includes ingredients with no or low health concerns. Ingredients with low health concerns are marked by a yellow dot on GoodGuide.
- Consider replacing or skipping any product that includes ingredients with regulatory bans. These are noted on the ingredient list with a dark purple dot.
- Educate yourself on the products that contain allergens or other ingredients suspected of causing organ toxicity. Examples include Propylene Glycol and Citronellol.