An anti-perspirant blocks sweat from leaving the pores of a person's body. It helps to reduce the embarrassment and odor that comes with sweat, especially under the arms. But there have been concerns in the media that antiperspirants are bad for our health.
Antiperspirants (not to be confused with deodorant, which simply neutralizes odor) contain aluminum. Some scientists suspect that the aluminum could cause health problems.
A 2006 study published in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 2006 (Fakri & Al-Tawil) found no association between breast cancer and antiperspirants. Instead it concluded that genetics and oral contraceptives could be causes. An earlier study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2002, Mirick, Davis, and Thomas) had the same result. (See Reference 1)
Scientist Dr. Kris McGrath of Northwestern University found that women with breast cancer who had started using antiperspirants early in life were diagnosed earlier. Though this study was deemed inclusive, Dr. McGrath still believes that there is a link between the used of aluminum based antiperspirants and cancer. (See Reference 2)
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that "additional research is needed to investigate" whether there is a relationship between antiperspirants and breast cancer, or if there is another factor at play. (See Reference 2)
Scientists are split on whether antiperspirants may be a cause of Alzheimer's disease. While the accumulation of aluminum in the body can increase Alzheimer's risk, there is no confirmation that the amount in antiperspirants is sufficient to leave toxic levels of aluminum in the body. (See Reference 3 and Resource 1)