Aluminium salts study claims ingredient can be linked with cancer

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Aluminium salts study claims ingredient can be linked with cancer

Related tags Aluminium salts Cosmetics Cancer

A new study by the University of Geneva claims to show that aluminum salts, widely used in antiperspirants and deodorants, could be environmental breast carcinogens.

The researchers behind the study​have claimed that aluminium salts can trigger the growth of tumours that could potentially cause breast cancer, with the results following calls in recent years from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) for limits to be introduced on the ingredient’s use.

Aluminium salts are a "suspect, not yet convicted"​, according to the study’s co-author, André Pascal Sappino, who spoke to The Local.

Indeed, the ingredient’s cancer risk has repeatedly been disputed or found inconclusive by industry and health organisations.

No practical application

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, a trade body for the industry in Europe, cautioned that the study cannot be used to draw conclusions about the impact of aluminium salts in aerosols.

"While the study might be of academic interest, it does not reflect actual use of aluminium in cosmetic products.  The authors of the study do not, and cannot, make a direct link between the results of their research and a possible link between aluminium in underarm cosmetics and breast cancer​," it said in a post on its website.

Inconclusive evidence

While as yet the evidence is inconclusive, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (the SCCS) the European Commission’s independent panel of experts is looking at the safe use of aluminium in cosmetic products, according to the CTPA.  

Darren Praznik, president of the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and fragrance, is one industry figure to refute links between aluminium salts and cancer.

Speaking to Canada’s Global News,​ he stated: “Any suggested links between aluminium in cosmetics and breast cancer are misleading."

For more than 20 years now, studies conducted by scientific and health authorities across the world have not shown any link between aluminium salts used in antiperspirants and breast cancer."


Alban Muller is one supplier who has responded to the concern around the inconclusive data on aluminium salts and has released a an alternative ingredient that it describes as 100% natural.

Amiderm ER is a blend of plant-origin amino acids, witch hazel bark and oak gallunt extracts in glycerin, the supplier states, with the ingredients “acting in synergy to prevent odours and irritations”.

The company states it has been tested in vitro ​to measure pH as proof of its efficacy.

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