There are plenty of fraudulent products that are marketed as "natural", which actually poison people chemically or otherwise. We find these cases particularly disturbing because they attempt to target the very people who are trying to be healthy. Among the best examples of this can be found in the industry of natural antiperspirants and deodorants. The leading brands, Crystal and Naturally Fresh both make fraudulent claims at the expense of their customers' health. These products contain a toxic heavy metal, and are dishonestly labeled. A typical example is the boast "No Aluminum Chlorohydrate", with the insinuation that aluminum chlorohydrate is the only source of aluminum for these products. To the contrary, "potassium alum" hides it in plain view in the ingredients list.
Potassium alum is otherwise known as "potassium aluminum sulfate" on honest labeling that is not hiding the presence of aluminum. Alum can occur in nature (which is how they manage to claim that it is "all natural"), but that does not make the alum any safer for the human body than any other form of aluminum. Mercury is likewise naturally occurring; as are hemlock, strychnine, lead, and cyanide. All of these ingredients are likewise quite dangerous to human health; especially with long-term exposure. Toxic heavy metals are still toxic heavy metals, regardless of whether they are discovered on the tops of mountains or in the depths of the oceans. Some companies claim that their alum is extracted from volcanic ash, and this makes it both natural and safe. The manufacturing process involves heating alunite rock to over 1,400° Fahrenheit, and then dousing it with sulfuric acid to finalize breaking down its molecular structure. They refer to the resulting chemically-engineered substance as both "all natural" and "unprocessed" alum.
Aluminum has been repeatedly indicated as a cause of breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, brittle bones, autism, infertility, and generalized permanent damage to the central nervous system. Furthermore, aluminum mimics estrogen to imbalance the hormones; indirectly leading to hypothyroidism, endometriosis, decreased fertility, and virtually every ailment that targets women. Underarm products are one of the greatest causes of breast cancer, since aluminum is absorbed almost directly into the lymph nodes from the armpits. Potassium aluminum sulfate makes up a massive 25% of some antiperspirants, and it cannot be excreted from the body without the intervention of chelation therapy. It accumulates within the body in ever growing amounts throughout a person's life, so that the aluminum becomes more destructive with increased age.
Some of the more principled antiperspirant companies have begun removing aluminum from their products, while the less scrupulous companies are simply hiding it with dishonest labeling. Ironically, the same companies producing aluminum-based antiperspirants frequently boast about their "breast cancer awareness" by placing pink ribbons on their products. Of course, these products help to make many new customers for the breast cancer industry, so these business partnerships are somewhat understandable, albeit reprehensible.
Why Use Aluminum?
Many reasonable people may wonder why aluminum would ever be added to underarm products. There are two main reasons. The first reason is that aluminum kills bacteria that is responsible for foul odors. It is used specifically because of its toxicity, instead of in spite of it. Although, it has never been necessary. A non-toxic (to humans) option could easily be used in place of aluminum, such as silver or copper. Not only are these known to kill virtually all bacteria, viruses, and fungi, but these alternatives are actually known to provide benefits to health. Thus, safe alternatives have always existed for manufacturers.
The second reason for using aluminum is because its molecules sink into the skin to create such toxicity that the sweat glands can no longer function well. It is unknown exactly how this happens, and perhaps that outlines the problem even further. Various hypotheses exist to explain aluminum's ability to stop sweat production, and many of them are ridiculous. The prevailing hypothesis is cited below, and it clearly lends credence to the assertion that aluminum is pulled into the body as a bio-toxin.
"The aluminum ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts at the opening of the epidermis, the top layer of the skin, says dermatologist Dr. Eric Hanson of the University of North Carolina's Department of Dermatology. When the aluminum ions are drawn into the cells, water passes in with them. As more water flows in, the cells begin to swell, squeezing the ducts closed so that sweat can't get out."
-- The Discovery Channel's, How Stuff Works
The makers of these products attempted to justify their behavior publicly by claiming that the particles of aluminum in their potassium alum are so large that they cannot be absorbed into the body. The particles of aluminum in potassium alum are typically so microscopic that they produce a completely transparent solution when mixed into clear fluids. The particles are so small that they cannot even produce a color change with all but the most complete saturation. The science shows that aluminum only works to stop perspiration if it sinks deep into the cells. It means that those "natural" antiperspirants could do nothing if they did not contain truly toxic aluminum that is absorbed by the body.
Are these companies lying when they claim that the particles are so large that they cannot react with the body, or are they lying when they state the particles are so small that they sink deep to provide effective "protection"? Is either side of their mouths telling the truth?
Brands that are actually aluminum-free usually contain other questionable ingredients, such as propylene glycol, a petroleum derivative. This is the primary ingredient in brands such as Tom's of Maine and Desert Essence. Finding a safe, all-natural deodorant or antiperspirant from an honest company has become a herculean task. Remember to read the ingredients when shopping for "all-natural" deodorants, and be wary of "alum". Our organization, Health Wyze Media, eventually gave up all hope of finding a trustworthy company, so we now sell our own brand of antiperspirant.
Metalloestrogens: an emerging class of inorganic xenoestrogens with potential to add to the oestrogenic burden of the human breast, Journal of Applied Toxicology
Selective accumulation of aluminum and iron in the neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer's disease: A laser microprobe (LAMMA) study, Annals of Neurology
Material Safety Data Sheet: Aluminium potassium sulfate dodecahydrate
The Health Wyze Antiperspirant (our safer alternative)
Special Investigative Report: Why You Should Boycott the Susan Komen Pink Ribbon Foundation and Its Sponsors
'The Cancer Report' -- a documentary from Health Wyze Media
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