Thrive Market’s “Toxic” Deodorant: I Smell A Rat

thrive market deodorant meme by mark alsip
Thrive Market, a new, supposedly all-natural online store being heavily pushed by the pseudoscientific Environmental Working Group, is concerned with body odor.  Sadly, the hypocrisy of both groups stinks to high heaven.  After scaring the caca out of readers over a perfectly safe ingredient in competing deodorants, Thrive author Michelle Pellizzon turns around and sells a Thrive product that contains the same compound she’s just linked to cancer.

First, the setup (emphasis mine):1

Aluminum, the active ingredient in deodorant that keeps you from getting stinky when it gets hot out there, has been linked to breast cancer and hormonal [im]balances (sic) when applied to underarms. The aluminum in antiperspirant is also the reason that your white t-shirts all have yellow pit stains—as if you needed another reason to switch to the organic stuff! All natural deodorants boast a formula that’s aluminum free, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.”–Michelle Pellizzon, writing for Thrive Market1

Never fear, Pellizzon and Thrive Market are ready to leap to the rescue by offering alternatives.  Why, look here… even as we speak, there are three contenders in the very article that just promised us cancer and hormonal imbalances if we go to competing, aluminum-laden brands:

Thai crystals from Thrive Market contain aluminum

Thrive Market is happy to sell us alternatives. But not so fast… (click/enlarge)

One of the author’s favorites is simply referred to as “the crystal”, and, lucky you, it’s currently on sale for the low, low price of $4.75 USD.

thai crystal deodorant from thrive

Act now Thrive customers, it’s on sale! (click/enlarge)

The ingredients are rather disingenuously listed as “Mineral salts and purified water”2  What exactly does that mean?  Is Thrive hiding something from us?  Let’s sashay over to the manufacturer’s web page and dig into the FAQ:3

deodorant stones of america aluminum

Deodorant Stones of America’s FAQ reveals the hidden aluminum–and a heavy dose of scientific misinformation.

The deodorant in question is manufactured by Deodorant Stones of America (DSA).  A quick glance at the FAQ on the company’s web3 site reveals that their products are made from alum, a class of chemical compounds that contain aluminum.  Yes, you read that correctly–the Thrive Market article that claims aluminum in deodorants is toxic is, incredibly, selling you a deodorant that contains aluminum.

It gets laughably worse.  DSA claims that aluminum is a mineral.  It’s not–it’s an element. One of the few things DSA gets right about the most common metal in the crust of the Earth is that it’s natural.  They should have continued:  There’s no reason to fear this metal, unless you have a medical condition such as kidney failure, in which case you’d be on dialysis, and want to avoid exposure in excess.  But Deodorant Stones of America isn’t the guilty party here–it’s Thrive Market and their blatant fear mongering, designed to steer consumers away from safe products that contain the very same element found in the deodorant they’re hawking in their “sky is falling” tripe.

As we’ll see in upcoming articles, the link between Thrive Market and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is particularly worrisome.  Although EWG claims to have no financial stake in Thrive, they’re aggressively marketing the online store through an email campaign that includes the astounding demand that consumers be allowed to use food stamps to buy the overpriced organic products found there.  Organic products are no more safe than their commercial counterparts–they’re just designed to lighten the wallet. And Thrive heavily cites EWG as a scientific authority (even though they’re not) when disparaging competitor’s products and touting their own.  You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

One promise I’ll make, and deliver upon quite often in the future: Thrive Market is loaded with products that their and EWG’s “research” claims to be dangerous.  See you soon!


(1) Thrive Tries It: We Test 3 Natural Deodorants

(2) Deodorant Stones of America Crystal Deodorant Stick

(3) Deodorant Stones of America FAQ

Image Credits
Thrive and Deodorant Stones of America product/screen snapshots are used in strict accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.


(VIDEO) Banned by Food Babe: The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

“Thanks for calling out the troll. I’ll make sure to get him”
–Vani Hari, when asked why she’s selling products containing the dyes Yellow 5 and Blue 1


I, Mark Alsip, am the troll referred to in Vani Hari’s quote (above). We had an interesting encounter yesterday on Periscope.  After being encouraged to ask questions, I very politely and respectfully queried Hari on three products she’s selling. I wanted to know why certain of her wares contain nearly a dozen different chemicals she’s specifically called out as “toxic”.

If you’re already aware of Vani’s tactics, you probably won’t be surprised I was banned instantly.  However, for those in the Food Babe Army (or the media) who don’t believe that Hari censors all dissenting comment and immediately bans those who point out her gaffes, presented below are video, screen captures, links to Food Babe’s product labels (with ingredient lists), and more, to back up the claims I made on Periscope.

Food Babe, who encourages followers to “read the ingredients” and mercilessly hound companies such as Subway and Kellogg’s via social media and petitions, does not apply the same standards to herself. She says “the sky is falling” and then tries to sell you a piece of the same sky. And, as demonstrated here, she’s apparently terrified of an honest discussion of the products she offers via her web site.


Three Products, Three Points
I politely called out Vani on three points, listed below and illustrated in the screen captures that follow. Follow the hyperlinks for product labels and information on the items sold by Food Babe:

Three Screen Captures


In an article warning us to avoid aluminum-based deodorants, Vani sells Naturally Fresh deodorant, which contains aluminum. Food Babe falsely links aluminum to Alzheimer’s. (click/enlarge)


Vani’s Tarte Lip Stains contain Yellow #5 and Blue #1, which she claims to be toxic in numerous articles. Her product also contains 3 “endocrine disruptors” she’s warned about, saccharine (she links to cancer), and aluminum. (click/enlarge)


Vani disparages salad dressings containing canola oil because of “poisonous” erucic acid from rapeseed. However, she sells two salad dressings that contain erucic acid. (click/enlarge)


The Video
Here’s a glimpse at what happens when you ask Food Babe honest questions (running time 1:07):
Update: On September 24 Vani Hari tried to silence my criticism by filing a harassing copyright infringement claim on YouTube. She’s apparently unfamiliar with fair use law. While I remind her, you can launch the video in a new window by clicking the image below. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Temporary Video Location (if YouTube non-functional)

YouTube Video (in litigation)

Image Credits
All Periscope video and screen captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes But Sells Same

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Naturally Fresh Deodorant

Food Babe Selling Erucic Acid (Salad Dressing Article)

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Naturally Fresh Deodorant

naturally free thumb

Naturally Fresh

In her article “Throw This Out of Your Bathroom Cabinet Immediately”,1 Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) slams modern deodorants because they contain aluminum.

In “Flu Vaccine: The Aluminum Lining“,2 I talked a lot about how aluminum (the most common metal in the earth’s crust) is an unavoidable part of our diets and is processed normally by the bodies of healthy people, so I won’t go into that again.  Please see the references in that article if you’d like more information on the safety of aluminum.  I’d like to concentrate on deodorants here.

One of the alternative products Hari recommends is Naturally Fresh Crystal Roll-On Deodorant (Fragrance Free).  She says this is the best deodorant she’s tried.  Vani likes it so much she’s encoded her affiliate ID in a link so that when you buy a bottle, she earns a commission:

naturally fresh thumb

Let’s take a look at the ingredients of Naturally Fresh, according to the manufacturer’s page on

naturally fresh ingredientsHmm… Ammonium alum and potassium alum.  Keeping in mind Vani’s hatred of all leading deodorants because they contain aluminum, let’s look more closely these two ingredients:

“Ammonium alum”, (NH4)Al(SO4)2·12H2O,4  is better known as Aluminum ammonium disulfate dodecahydrate, and looks like this:

Ammonium alum

“Ammonium alum”–Aluminum ammonium disulfate dodecahydrate.  (Click to enlarge.)

Do you see the enormous hypocrisy in Food Babe’s article?  I highlighted it for you in yellow.

“Al” is the symbol for aluminum.

Let that sink in for a moment.  Vani Hari has written an article telling you to throw out all the deodorants in your bathroom because they contain supposed Alzheimer’s-inducing aluminum, and then she’s turned around and referred you to a web site that sells you aluminum-containing deodorant.  And she earns a commission when you buy it.

The only significant difference between the aluminum in the deodorants that Food Babe hates and the aluminum in Naturally Fresh is that Vani Hari earns a commission when you buy the latter.  (We could get into a discussion on how the aluminum is bound, but that’s out of scope.  Remember, Hari’s flawed argument is that the mere presence of aluminum means you’re in danger of cancer and Alzheimer’s.  Read her article if you don’t believe me.)

The other ingredient in Naturally Fresh, “Potassium alum”, is better known as “Aluminum potassium sulfate,” KAl(SO4)2.5   Yes, you guessed it, there’s that pesky aluminum again:

potassium aluminum sulfate

“Potassium alum” — Potassium aluminum sulfate.  (Click to enlarge.)

Ironically, one of Food Babe’s fellow pseudoscientists, Dr. Mercola, warns against using natural deodorants that contain alum.6   Food Babe often quotes Dr. Mercola, so to see her peddling Naturally Fresh while he’s warning it can kill you is amusing.

So Vani Hari…

  1. Scares you to death with false information about aluminum
  2. Tells you your deodorants contain aluminum (throw’em out!)
  3. Points you to an alternative deodorant that contains aluminum
  4. Earns a sales commission on the alternative deodorant


As I pointed out in the introduction, what Hari doesn’t tell you is that the bodies of healthy humans process aluminum without any problems.  It’s the most common metal in the earth’s crust and an unavoidable part of our diets.  Foods near and dear to The Babe’s heart–such as spinach7,8–are rich in aluminum.  If you’re interested in details, with references, you might want to check out my article “Flu Vaccine: The Aluminum Lining.2

It’s no wonder that out of all the alternative deodorants Vani’s tried, Naturally Fresh works the best.  It’s the only one that definitely contains aluminum!  Buyers should be wary of the other three deodorants she recommends, because of a cryptic legal disclaimer to the effect that the materials you receive may be different than the packaging.

But, unless you’re suffering from a problem such as kidney disease where aluminum can’t be removed from your body efficiently, there’s really nothing wrong with Naturally Fresh deodorant.  I encourage you to buy it–or any other leading brand containing aluminum.  Just please don’t buy by clicking on a link from a Food Babe web page.

You May Also Be Interested In
Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Ava Anderson Mascara

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Blush

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Shampoo

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Naturally Fresh Deodorant

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Physician’s Formula Organic Wear

The Food Babe Ban List

Please note: To prevent increasing search engine exposure for objectionable web sites, I use the DoNotLink service to obfuscate their URLs.  I promise you are not being redirected to porn.

(1) Food Babe: Throw this out of your bathroom cabinet immediately

(2) Flu Vaccine: The Aluminum Lining

(3) Naturally Fresh on

(4) PubChem: Compound Summary CID 62668: Aluminum ammonium disulfate dodecahydrate (Ammonium Alum)

(5) PubChem: Compound Summary CID 24856: Aluminum potassium sulfate (Potassium Alum)

(6) Mercola: Stop Using “Natural” Deodorants Until You Read This

(7) Food Babe: Spinach Recipe

(8) World Health Organization: Aluminum in Drinking Water

Image Credits
Ammonium Alum from PubChem,  Used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Potassium Alum from PubChem,  Used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge. product screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.