Test: Do you know what is in your deodorant?

7. okt 2015

In a new test the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has examined 115 deodorants and antiperspirants on the Danish market for unwanted chemicals. More than 1 in 4 fails the test because they contain substances that are either allergenic or suspected of being an endocrine disruptor.


Test deodorants
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

115 deodorants tested

You most likely use your deodorant every morning, and the applied content stays on your skin for the entire day until you wash it off.  Consequently, you are in close contact with the chemical substances in your deodorant and antiperspirant.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has examined the ingredient lists on 115 deodorants from the Danish market, many of them are international brands. The good news is that one in five deodorants pass the inspection and receives the best mark for being without unwanted chemicals. But 33 products – more than 1 in 4 – fail the test. The poor marks are due to the content of allergenic substances or substances suspected of being an endocrine disruptor.

“We are displeased to find the preservative triclosan in 7 deodorants. The use of the substance has been subject to much debate in Denmark and abroad for many years because it is suspected of being an endocrine disruptor and furthermore accumulates in the environment. Therefore it is among the substances that we recommend consumers to avoid,” says Stine Müller, project manager at the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

All of the products that contain triclosan are deodorant sticks for men. The other substances which prompt fail marks are either allergenic or other substances also suspected of being endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are suspected of causing several ailments such as declining semen quality in boys and too early puberty in girls.

Trade organization: Triclosan is safe for use

The Danish trade organization SPT attend to the interest of suppliers of cosmetics and personal care products. CEO Hanne Løyche is critical towards the test. She points out that the test only records that triclosan is present in the deodorants, but not in what quantities.

“It is like saying that because salt is harmful to our health in big quantities, we should not use it in our food. But everything depends on the amount,” says Hanne Løyche who does not think that the products constitutes a risk for consumers or the environment.

Hanne Løyche explains that the authorities have specified strict limit values for how much triclosan is allowed in the products. However, Stine Müller from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals underlines that the so-called cocktail effect is not taken into account in the authorities’ assessment, and therefore triclosan should be avoided.

“None of the deodorants or antiperspirants in the test are prohibited or in themselves a health risk. But problematic substances like triclosan contribute to the amassed exposure to unwanted chemicals which the consumers meet in everyday life. It is the accumulated effect – the cocktail effect – that can be problematic when it comes to endocrine disrupting effects,” says Stine Müller.

Triclosan was found in 7 deodorants:

  1. David Beckham Classic,
  2. Davidoff Cool Water Night Dive,
  3. Calvin Klein Encounter,
  4. Paco Rabanne Black XS,
  5. Bvlgari Aqva pour homme,
  6. Bvlgari Aqva pour homme Marine and
  7. Tabac Original Deodorant Stick.

See the full test (in Danish)

For more information:

Mrs Stine Müller, sm@fbr.dk, +45 41 94 79 06                                                              

Project Officer, Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals