Researchers reveal that essential oils contain chemicals, which have the potential to disrupt hormones, according to a new study published on March 19, 2018.
A team of researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) reveal that lavender and tea tree oils contain potential hormone-disrupting chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for a condition called prepubertal gynecomastia, causing young boys to develop abnormal breast tissue.
A study previously conducted showed that topical use of lavender or tea tree oil could be responsible for prepubertal gynecomastia. This new report from NIEHS, studied eight specific chemical elements, including lavender and tea tree oils. When these chemicals were applied to human cancer cells in vitro, changes were observed in estrogen receptor- and androgen receptor-target gene activity.
“Our society deems essential oils as safe. However, they possess a diverse amount of chemicals and should be used with caution because some of these chemicals are potential endocrine disruptors.” said J. Tyler Ramsey, lead of the study.
Although, the study shows that these specific chemicals disrupt human hormones, its dosage of exposure which causes disruption seems unclear.
A study on tea tree oil from the European Commission’s Scientiﬁc Committee on Consumer Products, in 2008, revealed connections between topical use of the oil and gynecomastia to be implausible. The study also questioned whether or not any hormonally active chemicals potentially present in the oil could effectively penetrate the skin.