The outright misleading and hoax promises made by the advertisements have helped the deodorant market establish a strong foothold all over the world. The hot, humid climatic conditions and the huge profit margins involved has in part, attracted a lot of new players into this segment. The Indian deodorant market has seen a humongous growth with the market size growing from INR 500 crore (US$ 83.08 million) to INR 2,300 crore (US$ 382.18 million) in a period of just 5 years (during 2009-14) and interestingly, rural India accounts for just one tenth of the total sales. Also, the U.S. deodorant and antiperspirant market were seen to be largely unaffected by the recession and a 5.9% increase was witnessed from 2006-11 and it is expected that this market will continue to grow well into 2017. The fact that there is an increasing demand for this broader lifestyle product has attracted both FMCG giants and newbies into this segment, the concern being, that these companies are putting their sales and profits before the health of the consumers, who are at a high risk of various diseases like cancer, Alzheimer, etc.
In order to understand the potential threat deodorants pose to health and the environment, it is imperative for us to have an insight into the chemicals that go into its making. Most of the active ingredients of the deodorants are dissolved in alcohol because it provides an instantaneous sensation of cooling and also evaporates quickly. The ingredients and formulations vary according to the form in which the product needs to be supplied, but the main ingredients can be listed as follows-
A World Health Organisation study has linked the use of deodorants to Alzheimer’s disease due to abnormal accumulation of aluminium in the human brain. Another study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology looked at 20 human breast tumor samples and found parabens to be present in 18 out of 20 samples. Other than causing cancer, skin diseases, renal disorders, deodorants are also a nuisance to the environment too, the CFC’s present in the aerosols have been long phased out and replaced by liquid propellant like butane or propane under the Montreal Protocol, hence they don’t pose a threat to the ozone layer but at the same time, they have high amounts of volatile organic compounds as per the California Air Resource Board. These VOC’s contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, which is a key component of smog.
Deodorants and antiperspirants are harmful for our health and environment, moreover, our body gets immune to it and eventually they don’t show the desired results. Hence, the most recommendable option is to go natural. There are a lot of plant oils and extracts (like coconut oil, Bergamot (bergaptene-free) essential oil, Cornstarch or arrowroot powder) which have antimicrobial activity, and sweat soaking capability, so one can easily have access to their own stench masking deodorant and feel absolutely confident and safe.
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