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Some people claim that the aluminium in antiperspirants can cause cancer.

For example, Mercola.com:

Putting on antiperspirant is a routine part of most people's day, and you may not think much about it. But here's why you should: if you use one containing aluminum, you could be increasing your risk of breast cancer.

Is there evidence for this?

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    It's Mercola: the default answer is that whatever the site says is bollocks. Maybe we should have a flag for that. ;-) – matt_black Apr 29 '16 at 12:45
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    @Matt That doesn't seem like a constructive approach, especially since Mercola is not the only one saying this. – fredsbend Apr 29 '16 at 19:44
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    The title doesn't match the claim. The article never says causation. It reasonably says "may increase risk", as do the sources the article cites. – fredsbend Apr 29 '16 at 20:47
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  1. Research data does not have conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a part of the National Institutes of Health, are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food, cosmetics, medicines, and medical devices, also does not have any evidence or research data that ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer. Source: Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer

  1. Existing evidence concludes that there is no causal relationship or correlation between antiperspirant use and breast cancer.

Existing evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is no strong link between antiperspirant use and breast cancer and that there is very likely not even a weak link. Given such findings, it is appropriate to move on to other, more promising, avenues of research regarding environmental and lifestyle risk factors for breast cancer. This one’s been investigated and not found to be important. Source: Breast cancer myths: No, antiperspirants do not cause breast cancer

  1. The absorption rate of aluminum through the skin is still not exactly known and there is no difference in the concentration of aluminum between the cancer and the surrounding normal tissue when studied in women with breast cancer.

But it isn’t clear that much aluminum is absorbed through the skin. One study that looked at the absorption of aluminum from antiperspirants containing aluminum chlorohydrate applied to the underarms found that only a tiny fraction (0.012%) was absorbed. The actual amount of aluminum absorbed would be much less than what would be expected to be absorbed from the foods a person eats during the same time. It also doesn’t seem that breast cancer tissue contains more aluminum than normal breast tissue. A study that looked at women with breast cancer found no real difference in the concentration of aluminum between the cancer and the surrounding normal tissue. At this point, no clear link has been made between antiperspirants containing aluminum and breast cancer. Source: Should I be concerned about aluminum in antiperspirants?

  • The quoted article cites several studies. Why are those not reliable compared to the ones you cite here? – fredsbend Apr 29 '16 at 19:42
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    @fredsbend The studies Mercola cites do not conclude a link to cancer. The strongest worded one says there is a correlation between aluminum in nipple aspirate fluid and women with breast cancer, and that it may be a marker that one is at more risk. Notably, however, there have been more studies done since that study which seem to build support to the argument that there is a link, so perhaps this issue needs a new literature review. – called2voyage Apr 29 '16 at 20:18
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    Also, pericles316's first and third sources are out of date. The second one is more recent, but it is not a formal review. – called2voyage Apr 29 '16 at 20:21
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    @fredsbend And, yes, I am calling the answer into question. – called2voyage Apr 29 '16 at 20:51
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    @fredsbend Right, which is why I bothered to challenge the answer at all. I agree that we should not discount the question merely because of the source; I just don't want to give the source undue credit. – called2voyage Apr 29 '16 at 21:02

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