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Product: Health & Beauty (Deodorant)
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 11.1
The advertising on the advertisers’ website stated the following:
Hearing stories of women being diagnosed with breast cancer really made me question the components of everyday antiperspirant and its effect on my well-being.
My search for an effective natural deodorant led me to discover many natural alternatives using baking soda as their bases. However, many of these were either ineffective or irritant towards my skin. I decided something better could be created. Starting in my kitchen, I worked up batches of natural deodorant without resorting to baking soda.
Along with my partner’s work as a medical doctor, he decided to get involved in further research into the formulation possibilities focussing on making an effective deodorant product that put well being as the top priority…”
“Breast Cancer & Antiperspirants: Is there a link?
One of the reasons I started Indeora was to offer an effective body care alternative to using anti-perspirants.
There has been a lot of conflicting debate over the years on this topic and recently scientific studies by doctors such as (name of professor) are creating a wider conversation on this.
Breast Cancer UK recetly published an easy to read summary from recent combined research on the topic (see link below). Their report findings include:
• Aluminium chloride and chlorohydrate have been shown to act as metalloestrogens, capable of interfering with oestrogen action and under certain conditions stimulating responses associated with natural oestrogen.
• Aluminium has been shown to be absorbed through intact skin from application of antiperspirant under the arm. When skin is damaged, e.g. when you shave, more aluminium can be absorbed.
As more research continues to be published in this area and consumers give more thought to the products they use, a switch to a natural deodorant can offer an alternative.”
The complainant, a healthcare professional, said the information provided on the advertisers’ website had been vague and alarmist without any evidence-based facts.
They said the information suggested that breast cancer was linked to the use of regular deodorant because of its aluminium content when this had been disproven multiple times.
The complainant considered that to make a claim about a link between regular deodorant and cancer without providing evidence-based literature to back it up was merely opinion that preyed on emotions and fears of consumers to sell a natural alternative product.
The advertisers said that their website had not stated there was a link between regular deodorant and breast cancer nor did they believe that their website was alarmist in nature. They said that aluminium was an ingredient generally found in anti-perspirants only, not in deodorant and they had never stated that their product contained 0% aluminium.
They said there had been one blog post on their website which they could associate with the complaint. This post provided a summary of a linked and sourced research briefing on the topic of aluminium, from Breast Cancer UK (1), a UK based, registered charity that specialises in breast cancer research; of which this briefing was peer reviewed by medical experts in that charity.
The advertisers said that the post was provided as the result of a common question they received from women in relation to the link between aluminium and breast cancer. They said they were aware of the sensitivity surrounding this matter and the importance of impartiality. They considered this blog post had reflected impartiality along with the source link provided at the bottom of the post which provided full clarity and substantiation. They pointed out that the blog post had not stated that aluminium directly caused breast cancer.
The advertisers said the ‘Story’ Section of the website had been written from the experience and perspective of their CEO, the majority shareholder of the company, who, as a woman wanted to create the Indeora product which was manufactured to European manufacturing and production standards.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee considered that the link in the advertisement to ‘hearing stories of women being diagnosed with breast cancer’ alongside the reference to questioning the components of everyday antiperspirants on a person’s well-being, inferred that there was a link between breast cancer and using everyday antiperspirants.
The Committee considered that the advertising implied that there was a connection between breast cancer and aluminium, and noted that evidence for this claim was not provided.
In the absence of substantiation for the claims made in the advertising, the Committee concluded that the advertisement had breached Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.
The advertisement should not run in the same format again.