Common natural products implicated in hormone disruption

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In Chicago, researchers have demonstrated a link between regular exposure to essential oils lavender or tea tree oil—common, natural ingredients found in personal care and cleaning products—to abnormal breast growth in young boys.

“Our society deems essential oils as safe,” study lead investigator J. Tyler Ramsey of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, tells ScienceDaily. “However, they possess a diverse amount of chemicals and should be used with caution because some of these chemicals are potential endocrine disruptors.”

Coauthor Kenneth Korach, Ph.D. had previously shown that lavender and tea tree oil have estrogenic properties and also inhibit testosterone. The results were presented Monday at the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting.