Irrational Fear of Technology / Medicine etc

I am currently having a discussion on the issue of whether anti-perspirant causes cancer and whether the limited evidence on the subject means that one should or should not refrain from using it as a precaution. This is not meant to be a great debate and I know that the Master has already spoken on the subject.

However, I am trying to find evidence that would form the basis of of arguing against the view that using anti-perspirant could be harmful and, therefore, it should be avoided.

In order to do this, I would like to use examples in history where suspicions about new technologies / medicines / products when first introduced have been disproven. For example, I believe that there were suspicions around televisions “leaking” microwaves that could cause tissue damage when it was first introduced. Any more info on this and other related issues would be much appreciated.

A couple of examples that come to mind are cell phones causing brain cancer and silicone breast implants causing whatever ails you. But I wonder if past examples have any relevance to your argument. Just because people claimed that something was dangerous and then it turned out not to be doesn’t mean that current, unresolved claims of something being dangerous are less likely to be true. About all you can get out of examples like that is that sometimes people are wrong. I would want to focus more on whether anti-perspirant actually causes cancer or not. If you’re interested in the nonscientific aspects, try looking at the financial interests of those on each side of the debate. That’s usually a pretty good indicator of how skeptical you should be of their claims. If an anti-perspirant manufacturer claims his product is safe, that does not carry as much weight as if an independent agency claims it’s safe.

Please see this link from the National Cancer Institute . In particular, section 2 goes through a number of studies that have looked at this issue.

I always heard that the potential problems with anti-perspriants was with the aluminum content and that it might be linked to Alheimer’s.

Not that I truely am convienced by that site. Just what I’ve “heard”. :wink:

I’m definitely afraid of the doctor / medication duo. It seems to me most doctors “push” medication, like, the more the better. And it also seems that they have you take the maximum amount prescribed, until you have adverse reactions, then they cut the dosage back. It makes me feel like a Guinea pig. Here, overdose on this medication, then we might think about cutting the dosage back. No thanks.

In re the example of a TV leaking microwaves, could this instead be the production of X-rays by early color televisions? I think they ought to create some X-rays, and that judicious adjustment of the design made the problem insignificant, but it’s only vague recollection.

I was under the impression that it was aluminium in the anti-perspirent products that was possibly linked to breast/lymph cancer because of the pourus nature of our skin and placing said product on top of major lymph node locations (the pits). Am I wrong?


Among the precautions for modern CRTs are lead shielding, including leaded glass on the face, and circuitry that shuts the thing down if the acceleration voltage exceeds a set limit. (which would yield “harder” x-rays)