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Research Rebuttal: Gynecomastia & Essential Oils

Posted: March 5, 2007

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Question 5: Have the authors addressed the necessary parameters associated with topical application of a foreign material in the case study?

Answer: The details associated with the use of lavender and tea tree oil by the three prepubertal boys showed that they were using personal care products such as a lavender oil containing healing balm, a lavender and tea tree oil containing styling gel and shampoo and a lavender scented soap and skin lotion. No analyses of the levels of oils were made in the products nor were the other ingredients noted so the conclusion that lavender and tea tree oil were the ingredients responsible for gynecomastia was not really proved. Also, no parameters associated with the topical application of the personal care products were measured or determined.

Question 6: As Henley et al. (2007) used breast cancer cells in their estrogenic screening test, is this directly translatable to the observed gynecomastia in the prepubertal boys?

Answer: Although when performing in vitro screening tests on mammary cells it is normal to use cancer cells, the observed changes in the cells and estrogenic activity determination may or may not be directly translatable to prepubertal boys because the cells used in the study were breast cancer cell, presumably not found in the prepubertal boys.

Question 7: Is it possible that phthalate-contaminated oils or personal care products could be responsible for the observed gynecomastia?