While in the back of a cab on a recent business trip, a co-worker was telling me a rather amusing story about a recent meeting where he had to borrow the suit coat of another co-worker because, well, he had forgotten to pack his deodorant and it was a warm day. I asked him about the obvious solution: why not race to the nearest store and pick some up? Apparantly, though, time was a factor and he risked being late for what was an important meeting. Or something.

After we finished the good-natured ribbing of our co-worker (always a good time), the conversation turned to deodorant and anti-perspirants. See, I’ve been an anti-perspirant guy for as long as I can remember. Deodorants may smell better, but anti-perspirants are the ones that block sweating. Anyway, one co-worker said he wore deodorant exclusively because anti-perspirants contain many borderline toxic poisons and cancer-causing agents. I was all like “hold the phone.” I had never heard this – ever – and I read quite a bit and try to stay on top of stuff like that. Surely I would have heard about this somewhere?

Naturally, I freaked out just a little. Until I knew more, I changed up the armpit system and the last couple of sticks I bought have been deodorant and not anti-perspirant and they’ve been purchased a Whole Foods. Could it be that I totally missed the boat on this and I’m heading for the ditch? I mean, I couldn’t really believe this was true, otherwise grocery stores and pharmacies wouldn’t have such extensive choices of anti-perspirants on their shelves. Or would they? I mean, can retail be trusted?

So tonight I turned to the most trusted resource in the modern world – the internet (please note sarcasm here). A spin around the web indicates that this is largely an urban myth, although it seems there have been some odd statistics around incidents of breast cancer in women who use anti-perspirants and shave thier armpits. I would imagine the number of women who do that is pretty high. And ladies, don’t freak – they’re having trouble making the connection at all and logic is logic.

However, it does appear that anti-perspirants contain some ingredients that probably are not terribly good for you. I mean, anti-perspirants essentially create gels that muck up your pores and prevent sweat from exiting your body. Now, last time I checked, sweating is one of the human body’s natural (and quite necessary) occurences, so think about it this way: just imagine you had something that prevented you from going to the bathroom. Hmmmmm. Admittedly, not a fair comparison, but I’m in the ballpark.

End result? I dunno. I haven’t switched back to anti-perspirant yet, but man, the deodorants (at least the ones at Whole Foods) don’t exactly give me a days worth of protection. I know, I know, just use it twice a day, you say. I guess that’s the only option. But on meeting days, I’m hitting the anti-perspirant yo, ’cause you never know. And I ain’t borrowing anyone’s jacket.

So what do you do, anti-perspirants or deodorant? Has anyone ever heard this myth or read anything to the effect that anti-perspirants aren’t good for you? Good god. If you’re still reading this – really – I feel bad for you.