Switzerland is poised to become the first country to ban deodorants with aluminium salts over fears they could cause breast cancer.
Concerns surrounding aluminium salts were first raised last September when Swiss scientists found exposure to the antiperspirants could trigger tumour growth.
Aluminium salts are present in the majority of high street deodorants and help get rid of sweat and body odour.
Now the Swiss National Council has approved a bill that could ban the use of aluminium salts in deodorants and fund research into its role in breast cancer.
On May 5 the Council voted by 126 to 58 to approve the bill, which was brought about by Green MP Lisa Mazzone.
Mazzone claims that previous research by scientists from the University of Geneva has created ‘sufficient doubt’ around the safety of aluminium salts, the Hippocratic Post reported.
But many leading experts have pointed out flaws in the Swiss study and said there is no need to ban deodorants with aluminum salts.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the charity Breast Cancer Now, said women should not stop using these products, pointing out a major flaw in the study – which looked at how aluminium salts affected breast tissue in mice, not humans.
But the MP said antiperspirants containing aluminium compounds should be banned as a ‘precautionary’ measure.
The study published in September found there may be an increased risk of breast cancer caused by aluminium compounds in antiperspirants.
These compounds temporarily block sweat glands – but can also build up in breast tissue and produce some oestrogen-like effects.
While some simple deodorants designed just to mask odour do not contain them, most do.
André-Pascal Sappino, co-author of the study, from the University of Geneva, looked at isolated human mammary cells and later replicated it in studies on mice.
The study found long term exposure resulted in tumours which metastasise – or spread.
He compared people’s skepticism over its potential cancer-causing properties to asbestos.
‘Asbestos is cheap, has very attractive industrial potential, and it took 50 years to ban it.
‘We hope it doesn’t take so long to ban aluminium salts,’ he told The Local.
He said injections of aluminium salts in mice resulted in ‘very aggressive tumours’.
Paul Pharoah, professor of cancer epidemiology at the University of Cambridge, also dismissed the findings, saying: ‘These results tell us little about the potential for aluminium chloride to cause breast cancer when used normally.’
‘This study looked only at the effects of aluminium in mice – but the largest study of all the evidence in humans found no link.
‘If you’re worried about your risk of breast cancer, try to focus on the things we have strong evidence for, like keeping a healthy weight, taking regular physical activity and reducing alcohol intake.’