Toxic holiday ornaments, decorations, and children’s toys.

For awhile now I have been curious as to the toxicity of objects made out of “resin” or “polyresin”.  These items are found everywhere.  Items such as holiday ornaments, indoor and outdoor decorations ,and of course, children’s toys.

Chemical substances such as 1,2-dichloroethane, or DCA, and trichloroethylene, or TCE leach out of the resin.  According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control),

“1,2-Dichloroethane, also called ethylene dichloride, is a manufactured chemical that is not found naturally in the environment. It is a clear liquid and has a pleasant smell and sweet taste. The most common use of 1,2-dichloroethane is in the production of vinyl chloride which is used to make a variety of plastic and vinyl products including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, furniture and automobile upholstery, wall coverings, housewares, and automobile parts. It is also used to as a solvent and is added to leaded gasoline to remove lead.”

and

“Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a nonflammable, colorless liquid with a somewhat sweet odor and a sweet, burning taste. It is used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts, but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers. Trichloroethylene is not thought to occur naturally in the environment. However, it has been found in underground water sources and many surface waters as a result of the manufacture, use, and disposal of the chemical.”

According to three different organizations these compounds are considered to be cancer causing agents.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lists 1,2-Dichloroethane as a probable human carcinogen, the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) lists it as possibly carcinogenic to humans, and the NTP (National Toxicology Program) lists it as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lists Trichloroethylene as Carcinogenic to humans.  the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) lists it as Carcinogenic to humans (evidence for cancer is based on kidney cancer, limited evidence for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer, as well as, various tumors in animals), and the NTP (National Toxicology Program) lists it as Known to be a Human Carcinogen.

The Case of the toxic gingerbread man by Science News found that the toxicity of the products was not isolated to when they are in use, or when they are produced, but also when they are stored, such as the method most of us use to store our Christmas decorations.

polyresin ornament
RUN, RUN… This polyresin ornament was offgassing dramatic amounts of a toxic additive.
OH NO, MR. BILL!
OH NO, MR. BILL! Doucette and his team scratched the surface (and amputated the legs) of this ornament to find the source of its toxic emissions.

I am sharing this information as it is a prime time of the year for use of these items and I also hope that you may consider disposing of these items instead of storing them for future use if you happen to find them in your home.

I hope that you think twice about purchasing items that are made out of resin.  Not only is it toxic if it is in your home, but it is toxic in your yard as many lawn and garden ornaments are made from resin.  Think of the probability that the toxins are leaching out of the decorations and into ground water, or your garden where you intend to harvest produce to eat as well as the toys that your children and pets may put in their mouths.  Lastly, consider the toxicity to the people who are working in factories to produce these items for our pleasure.

Source: Case of the toxic gingerbread man | Science News

Source: ATSDR – Toxic Substances – 1,2-Dichloroethane

Source: ATSDR – Toxic Substances – Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Are Lavender and Tea Tree Oil Endocrine Disruptors? Lack of Evidence

There have been various reports suggesting that these two essential oils are endocrine disruptors as well as others that conclude the opposite.  My own opinion on this matter is that there is more recent and conclusive evidence that these two essential oils are not endocrine disruptors.

The original study coming from the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2007 concluded that there is a link between these two essential oils and abnormal breast growth in young boys—called prepubertal gynecomastia.  The information on the NIEHS site refers to the original study in the New England Journal.

Since then there have been other reports that disagree with their findings.  For example the 2013 study in Reproductive Toxicology which used immature female rats with daily observations including viability, clinical signs, body weights, and body weight gains and found “no evidence of estrogenic activity”.

An opinion paper by Robert Tisserand published in March 2018 states that

“No connection was established between the in vitro work and the three cases, and the evidence for tea tree oil having an effect on prepubertal gynecomastia is non-existent. Phytoestrogens generally have a very weak hormonal activity, and it is implausible that the amounts of essential oil that enter the body from product use would have a significant effect.”

The most recent report restating that there is a connection appears to be utilizing the same information from the 2007 report and has no new metadata analysis or clinical studies cited.

As with all information relating to the health and well-being of our families or personal health everyone should proceed with caution and is encouraged to come to their own conclusions.

Feel free to review the information in the links below and respond with your own opinions.

How Lavender and Tea Tree Became Labeled As Endocrine Disruptors

Source: How Lavender and Tea Tree Became Labeled As Endocrine Disruptors – Earth Mama® Organics

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Neither lavender oil nor tea tree oil can be linked to breast growth in young boys

Source: Neither lavender oil nor tea tree oil can… (PDF Download Available)

Tisserand, Robert. (2018). Neither lavender oil nor tea tree oil can be linked to breast growth in young boys.

Int J Toxicol. 2013 Mar-Apr;32(2):123-9. doi: 10.1177/1091581812472209. Epub 2013 Jan 28. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

Source: Uterotrophic assay of percutaneous lavender oil in immature female rats. – PubMed – NCBI

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Full-Text Paper (PDF): Lack of evidence that essential oils affect puberty

Source: Lack of evidence that essential oils… (PDF Download Available)

Scientists studied chemicals in both oils and found they affected the cells in a way that would encourage abnormal breast growth

Source: New research shows lavender and tea tree oil may be making young boys grow breasts | National Post

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The mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives.

Source: Lavender and Tea Tree Oils May Cause Breast Growth in Boys

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A new study lends further evidence to a suspected link between abnormal breast growth in young boys—called prepubertal gynecomastia—and regular exposure to lavender or tea tree oil, by finding that key chemicals in these common plant-derived oils act as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The study results will be presented Monday at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago.

Source: Chemicals in lavender and tea tree oil appear to be hormone disruptors | Endocrine Society

Original Article from The New England Journal of Medicine — Prepubertal Gynecomastia Linked to Lavender and Tea Tree Oils

Source: Prepubertal Gynecomastia Linked to Lavender and Tea Tree Oils | NEJM