Lavender and Tea Tree - Endocryne Disrupters?

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Saffron

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I thought the theory that Lavender and Tea Tree EOs caused hormonal problems in boys was proved to be false (can't find the reference now), but here is an article again in today's news confirming the link.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/b...rmone-disruptor-endocrine-study-a8260326.html
"Doctors had thought there might be similar issues with essential oils, after cases where boys who had regularly used tea tree soaps and skin products started developing breasts.
However the condition went away after they stopped using tea tree products. It is also appears that some people are more susceptible to the hormone-disrupting effect, the authors said."



Does anyone have a link to the opposing article?
 

SaltedFig

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I cannot abide tea tree (and only use it where absolutely necessary).

Of all the poison-medicines, this one strikes me as one of the more dangerous (it is ridiculously effective, which means it is also dangerous).

Lavender is delightful fresh, but is also not so wonderful when it's become old and oxidized.

Both have disrupter abilities (and yes, it's to do with hormonal blocking).

Have a look at plastic. If you really want to worry about your boys, start looking at the plastic softeners in the plastic food containers you use.
(BPA's are directly mentioned, in your linked article)

I thought the theory that Lavender and Tea Tree EOs caused hormonal problems in boys was proved to be false (can't find the reference now), but here is an article again in today's news confirming the link.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/b...rmone-disruptor-endocrine-study-a8260326.html
"Doctors had thought there might be similar issues with essential oils, after cases where boys who had regularly used tea tree soaps and skin products started developing breasts.
However the condition went away after they stopped using tea tree products. It is also appears that some people are more susceptible to the hormone-disrupting effect, the authors said."



Does anyone have a link to the opposing article?
 

BattleGnome

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I’ve seen the argument for lavender both ways. The last time I seriously looked into it the argument from the aromatherapist side was a flawed study. The claim was that they used disposable plastic Petri dishes which could have degraded with the use of EO. Neither side (that I could find) was willing to fund a study with glass Petri dishes. (Or they did and it was more fighting back and forth.)

Adding in tea tree is new to me. Not surprised though, EOs are still super trendy and statistically someone will have an issue
 

Saffron

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I guess I should’ve clarified at the outset that the reason for starting this thread was to start a discussion to try and establish the facts about the safety of Lavender and tea tree oils for young children of which, in my opinion, all soap and bath + body product makers should be aware regardless of whether they sell to the public or not – especially with all the conflicting information available on the web.

It might have already been discussed previously on this forum, but new members are joining every day and not everyone browses the old threads for useful information.

Many mothers (and fathers) turn to soapmaking because they want to use natural, safe and ‘chemical-free’ products on their young children. Perhaps they watch a video on youtube or read a blog or a book and dive straight in without due diligence and research on the so-called ‘natural’ ingredients out there. They’ve heard of the mystical, magical properties of Lavender and Tea Tree and don’t think twice before using it in soaps for their children thinking it will add a calming effect at bath time or antifungal/ antibacterial properties to their hand soaps.

I myself have read conflicting reports about Lavender and was hoping a more knowledgeable member on the forum could point me in the right direction regarding the latest studies or papers on this topic in order to establish the truth of the claims.

Have a look at plastic. If you really want to worry about your boys, start looking at the plastic softeners in the plastic food containers you use.
(BPA's are directly mentioned, in your linked article)
My children are adults now – so no concern for me there. I only make unfrangranced soap for the little ones in my extended family, so again no worries there.

I totally agree with you on BPA and plastics, which can be a discussion for another thread.
 

IrishLass

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I'll take a look in my Essential Oil Safety Book by Tisserand/Young and report back, if someone else doesn't beat me to it (we'll be busy eating dinner here shortly).


IrishLass :)
 

lenarenee

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Eo's and children: in the US (don't know about other countries) it is not legal to conduct medical studies on minors except under certain conditions. There simply isn't enough credible scientific evidence out there to responsibly declare any essential oil safe for children.

In fact and shockingly to me, is the fact that many Rx and OTC products were once only approved for adult use have "slid" down in the pediatric department - without testing or even proof of safety or efficacy! Yes....efficacy! AND....they sometimes just guess at the dosage! (educated guess yes....but still). We know that using NSAID's can affect vascular health in adults, yet no one knows how that translates to using them on children with developing vascularity. And have you seen the dose suggested for children on those bottles? It's higher than suggested for adults (going by weight.)

After 20 years of using acid blockers/ppi's on babies, they're now discovering they've become adults with long term negative affects. (effects?)
 

SaltedFig

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Ok, I spent a little bit of time pulling together some links and data (for those who want to dig into this).

Eo's and children: in the US (don't know about other countries) it is not legal to conduct medical studies on minors except under certain conditions. There simply isn't enough credible scientific evidence out there to responsibly declare any essential oil safe for children.
That's pretty much the problem (as it were). I know here that the amount allowed in natural lice treatments was lowered (I can't recall from what to what, but it was on the basis that it was too strong a solution - this treatment being often used on young children of primary school age). It is a ridiculously effective treatment, and one round with tea tree will kill all adult lice and most eggs, and another round a week later to catch the eggs that survived and hatched, and the job is done. It's that good at killing insects.

Anyway, this is what I found for you:

Just to be clear, we are talking about Melaleuca alternifolia leaf oil (black tea tree is pretty toxic), specifically in the context of the effect of topical application on human hormones (only).

On one side:
Tisserand refutes the idea that tea tree is capable of crossing the skin barrier, despite it having “weak in-vitro estrogenic action in MCF-7 cells (Henley et al 2007; Nielsen 2008) on page 443 (of 2nd ed etc.)

He also questions the veracity of the reports, and suggests that there was one case of a 10 yo boy, not 3 boys, and stated that a website suggested that the testing was done by a competitor. (same page, paraphrased)

There is a substantial amount of information contained in Tisserand's reference book; tea tree information is contained across 6 pages (pages 440 to 445), however for this particular topic, he discusses reproductive toxicity across 2 detailed paragraphs at the end of page 443 across to page 444.

On the other side:
This page from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences seems to name the doctor who treated the 3 boys and where the study was published (in 2007) (I cannot see that Tisserand has referred to it, but I also have not checked his source material):
https://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2007/january31/index.cfm
This page makes reference to it needing further study, that the tests were in-vitro and the boys had no other identifiable reason for their condition (calling the idea speculation), so they are not drawing concrete conclusions at that point.

Under the UN’s global Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Tea tree is classified as:
GHS Classifications:
Flammable liquid, category 3
Acute toxicity, category 4
Mildly irritating to eyes, category 2B
Irritating to skin, category 2

2015 publication (possibly the same 3 boys, 2 using cologne, 1 tested cologne with lavender), says in conclusion “Exposure to estrogenic substances, such as lavender, should be explored in children presenting with prepubertal gynecomastia/thelarche.”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26353172

Links to a lot of research (over 1,000 papers on tea tree oil):
http://www.attia.com.au/search_abstracts.php

This is interesting (related):
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23211454


So, at this point in time,
a) Tea tree and lavender can affect human hormone balances when applied to cells directly
b) There a very small number of cases where a hormonal effect is claimed to have resulted from topical application
(I have found a maximum of 7, or possibly 4, being either 6 boys and one woman, or more likely 3 boys and one woman)
c) The dataset is too small at this point in time to come to concrete conclusions, ongoing/further monitoring and reporting is required.
 

lenarenee

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There's also another issue: Essential oils are not standardized. there are dozens of suppliers/growers of tea tree/lavender/whatever. Each field/soil affects the final product, as does weather and other growing conditions. Add to that processing and distillation, storage, age, etc. and you've got several variables that can affect the purity, efficacy, strength, etc. of a bottle of eo.

Unless you've strictly controlled all of these conditions, no 2 bottles of essential oil will be exactly the same.

(studies with drugs do not have that issue as the active ingredient is standardized. There are a few proven rare exceptions such as the drug Dyazide where the starch filler weakened the performance of the active ingredients)
 
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Saffron

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Doesn't seem to affect rats though.

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1091581812472209
The estrogenic potential of lavender oil was evaluated in a percutaneous uterotrophic bioassay in immature female rats.....
Based on these data, lavender oil, at dosages of 20 or 100 mg/kg, was not active in the rat uterotrophic assay and gave no evidence of estrogenic activity.
 

cmzaha

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I make a sell a lot to Tea Tree Oil soap, using 4 oz in my batch of 60 oz oil. So each bar is getting approx 7g TTO oil and taking into account a bar will last approx 30 showers (mine do), you are only getting 0.233 grams per shower. If any in a wash off product crosses the barrier is it a very tiny amount. Please correct me if my thought on this is wrong.
 

lenarenee

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Its really too early to call; the study hasn't been published or peer reviewed. There are other considerations too - like perhaps these kids were affected by a combination of factors such as bpa exposure with essential oils.

I'm glad that this will (hopefully) serve as a caution for those who have drunk the eo kool-aid and throw eo's are every ailment. But worried because I'm wondering how wise it is to you other eo's like rosemary and peppermint in soap (my favorites). The skin does NOT absorb everything that's put on it, but we may discover that some component of eo's does get through, or even be a vehicle that permits absorption (like emu oil)
 

dixiedragon

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I remember somebody posting on another forum about a friend who kept losing pregnancies - turned out she was washing everyday with soap with pennyroyal EO. As soon as she ditched - bam! I assume she was just very very sensitive to the EO, but it's something to think about.
 

cmzaha

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I remember somebody posting on another forum about a friend who kept losing pregnancies - turned out she was washing everyday with soap with pennyroyal EO. As soon as she ditched - bam! I assume she was just very very sensitive to the EO, but it's something to think about.
It is something to wonder about, but then it can also be coincidence. A former neighbor of mine had several mis-carriages, finally adoped and bam she had twins the next year. So it is really hard to know. Anyone can be sensitive to anything as we all know
 

penelopejane

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The first link in the first post said oestrogenic effects weren’t just linked to boys but men too.

Isnt that linked to why girls have such large breasts these days?

I can make myself sick with peppermint (and other EOs) in soap. I am not alone. Lots of substances are transdermal, even wash off products.
 

randycoxclemson

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The last I read (before today) was the counter-argument from Tisserand about the flawed 2007 anecdotal evidence from 3 boys (https://naha.org/naha-blog/neither-...ree-oil-can-be-linked-to-breast-growth-in-you). I have to be a little wary of the new Eurekalert release as it seems to have an agenda, given that the second paragraph mentions "so-called essential oils" used by some in the US (nowhere else?) as an "alternative to medical treatment."

I'll put it up there with the alarmist info I heard about using aluminum pans or drinking milk or eating butter or using coconut oil that seems to go back and forth every decade or so. :)
 

lenarenee

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The first link in the first post said oestrogenic effects weren’t just linked to boys but men too.

Isnt that linked to why girls have such large breasts these days?

I can make myself sick with peppermint (and other EOs) in soap. I am not alone. Lots of substances are transdermal, even wash off products.
I have no knowledge on how transdermal eo's, fo's are or aren't - but I keep trying to find out!

But Penelope, keep in mind that you're breathing the eo's in as well - and (if I remember Tissarand correctly) that is far more potent.

In the US there's a wave of belief being perpetuated by poor science being spread around the internet that simply states that if it's on your skin it gets absorbed. Period. (one of the many reasons so many people want to make their own chemical free products). This generalization is absolutely not true. Yes, there are some things that do permeate the skin but not nearly as many as people think, nor in the manner they think (instantly hits the bloodstream for example).

I've had 3 semesters of human bio/physiology type classes and while I'm far from an expert, I do know that the integumentary system is designed to expel, not absorb. There are many barriers to protect the body from outside invaders; molecular size, polarity, protein structure, skin mantle, enzymes, etc. (And remember, the outside layers of your skin are dead and non functioning! ) This is why people still have to wash makeup off their faces, don't get poisoned from walking through heavy traffic exhaust (the kind you can see), or drown in the shower.

Rx medication transdermal patches must us a substance to perpetuate absorption because most medications are not transdermal by themselves.

You also bring up a great question: since the act of washing with soap and water removes germs and dirt because of electrical charge.....just how does that affect any possible absorption of soap ingredients? Are eo's hydrophillic or phobic?
Somebody out there in the medical/science field knows these things but heck if I can find them!!!
 

DeeAnna

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EOs don't mix well with water => hydrophobic.
 
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