On the request of the country's Food Safety Authority, the Committee performed a risk assessment of aluminium through food and the use of cosmetic products by comparing exposure levels to a tolerable weekly intake of 1 mg established by EFSA (2008) and a provisional tolerable weekly intake of 2 mg established by JECFA (2012).
According to the scientists; the use of cosmetic products, in particular antiperspirants, contributed substantially to the total systemic exposure to aluminium, and even high systemic exposures estimated in the worst case scenarios.
“This assessment shows that cosmetics, and in particular antiperspirants, contribute considerably more than diet to the total systemic aluminium exposure in persons using such products.”
The recently published report indicates that estimations have been based on skin absorption values derived from skin biopsies after tape-stripping that mimics shaving or waxing of the armpit, or impaired skin caused by skin conditions such as eczema.
And that, nine-year-old children, 13-year-old adolescents and adults may have an additional exposure to aluminium though the use of cosmetics such as lipstick/lip gloss, antiperspirants and/or whitening toothpaste.
"For persons using lipstick/gloss daily, the mean and high total systemic exposures varied from 0.51 to 1.4 μg Al/kg bw/week, depending on age group, in a standard scenario (0.6 per cent skin absorption, normal skin)."
In a worst case scenario (10.7 per cent skin absorption, stripped skin), the Committee found that the mean and high total systemic exposures ranged from 4.5 to 14 μg Al/kg bw/week, depending on age group, which exceeded both the systemic TWI and the systemic PTWI. .
"Daily use of antiperspirants will most likely result in aluminum exposure that exceeds the tolerably weekly intake."
In recent years the use of aluminum salts has caused many consumers to back away from using aluminum in deodorants, prompting a number of personal care players to launch deodorant lines that are free from aluminum.
One such company is 21st Century Healthcare, claims that all of its antiperspirants are aluminium-free by opting instead for lichen as an active ingredient to help inhibit odor.