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Monday, January 9, 2023Congresses

Risk assessment of essential oils: is constituent analysis adequate?

Évaluation du risque des huiles essentielles : l'analyse des constituants est-elle la bonne méthode ?

As part of the revision of the CLP Regulation, the European Commission is proposing to classify a multi-constituent substance on the basis of the hazard of one (or more) of its constituents, even if the same properties are not found in the substance itself. Essential oils would be the first to be affected by this new rule, even though their “totum effect” does exist. This is what Sophie Fouyet, from Yslab, and Mathilde Hagège, from Laboratoires Léa, wanted to show during the Aromadays organised by Cosmed and the HE Consortium at the end of 2022.

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No one can ignore the omnipresence of the issue of endocrine disruptors in the news, nor the fact that essential oils often enter into the debates they provoke. And it is three years of reflection, tests and exchanges on this theme that the speakers wanted to share.

The background

The controversy began in 2007 with an article by Henley et al, who reported the occurrence of gynecomastia (enlarged glandular breast tissue) in boys using lavender and tea tree oil-based skin care products.
The HE Consortium then showed that the clinical cases reported by Henley had not demonstrated a direct link between gynecomastia and the use of essential oils. Moreover, the in vitro study on a model of mammary cells not belonging to the endocrine system showed only a hormonal modulation without deleterious effect. And in 2017, the SCCS confirmed that the causal link between cases of gynecomastia and EOs was not plausible.
This did not prevent this study from being picked up by the mainstream press in 2018, with some of the most alarming headlines targeting these two essential oils.

In 2019, the results of an in vitro study by Ramsey on this subject were published in The Journal of …

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