I read this news item from the National Institute of Health recently, and was suprised on a number of levels:
“A study published in this weekâ€™s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that repeated topical use of products containing lavender oil and/or tea tree oil may cause prepubertal gynecomastia, a rare condition resulting in enlarged breast tissue in boys prior to puberty…”
Three boys do not a scientific conclusion make! How did this make it into NEJM? The findings were confirmed by lab data, that’s how.Â Also, when the products were discontinued, the boobs went away.
I have to say, having interacted with parents that are determined that nothing but “natural” products will touch their kids, I had to giggle when I read this. As an entomologist, I know that some of the natural pesticides you can buy are 10 times more dangerous than synthetic pesticides.
Just because it came from a plant, it isn’t always safe. You don’t want to eat sweet peas, for example. Not the same as edible peas!
The authors were careful to state, clearly, that these findings only apply to young boys. I don’t think that this will stop a run on lavender and tea tree oil, and subsequent offers by boyfriends everywhere to help massage out the stress you are storing…in your breasts.
Beware if you are also offered breast enhancing beer.