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NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — For over a decade, parents and clinicians have been told that lavender and tea tree essential oils can cause prepubertal gynecomastia and other hormonal disorders in children, despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting this claim. The research team at Franklin Health investigated this concern through the first and only epidemiological study on the topic, finding that these claims are unfounded.
This public health concern can be traced to isolated reports first published in 2007, with a handful of additional cases trickling into the scientific literature over the next decade. While exposure to lavender and tea tree essential oils is extremely common, and these proposed outcomes are serious health concerns, clinical research remained non-existent.
Franklin Health’s nonprofit center, with support from a global collaboration of stakeholders, addressed this unanswered question through a much-needed public health project spanning multiple years. This study was the first and only to scientifically evaluate these claims, and included over 550 children.
Lead scientist, Jessie Hawkins, PhD, explains the project’s goal, “If lavender and tea tree essential oils are capable of endocrine disruption, our team’s mission was to identify which children were vulnerable and to create evidence-based recommendations that would improve public health.”
The project began with development of a validated method of establishing and quantifying lifetime exposure status, followed by an analysis of exposures and outcomes from over 550 children. After comprehensively investigating the data, the team concluded there is no evidence of a relationship between the use of lavender or tea tree essential oils and endocrine disruption in children. These findings were published in Elsevier’s International Journal of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (October 2021).
“I am excited to see these findings inform public health guidelines in the future,” says Christy Hires, MPH, CHES, who was a co-investigator on the project. Hires continues, “Tomorrow’s children will be safer as a result. When we wrongly avoid an ingredient due to a suspected health issue, the danger is that we turn parents away from a safe ingredient and towards something that is untested and often unsafe. When we have ingredients like lavender and tea tree, with centuries of use in personal care, it just doesn’t make sense to avoid them now that we are certain they are safe.”
About Franklin Health Research
Franklin Health Research provides independent clinical and epidemiological research services for leading brands within the natural products industry. Established in 2005, Franklin Health has become a global leader, recognized for scientific rigor and integrity in natural products research. The highly qualified, interdisciplinary team at Franklin Health specializes in developing robust methodological approaches that deliver unique research solutions individually customized to a diverse range of brands and suppliers. For more information, visit https://franklinhealth.org
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SOURCE Franklin Health Research