Independent Panel to Evaluate Whether Genistein or Soy
Formula is Hazardous to Human Development or Reproduction
||An independent panel of 14 scientists convened by the Center
for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR), of the NIEHS
and National Toxicology Program, will review recent scientific data and
reach conclusions regarding whether or not exposure to genistein or soy
formula is hazardous to human development or reproduction. The 2.5 day
meeting is open to members of the public and the media. A press availability
period will immediately follow the meeting at approximately noon on Friday,
|| Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 16, 2006, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Friday, March 17, 2006, 8:30 a.m.– noon
Press Availability: Friday, March 17, 2006 approximately 12–1p.m.
|| Jefferson Ballroom
Radisson Hotel Old Town
901 N. Fairfax Street,
Alexandria, VA 22314-1501, USA
Tel: (703) 683-6000
Fax: (703) 683-7597
||Exposure to genistein continues to rise in the United States
with estimated soy sales in 2003 approaching $4 billion.* A form of genistein
is a primary, naturally occurring estrogen in soybeans (estrogenic chemicals
in plants are called phytoestrogens) and can mimic the effects of estrogen
in the body. Genistein can be found in foods containing soy such as soy-based
infant formulas, tofu, soy milk, soy flour, textured soy protein, tempeh,
and miso, as well as over-the-counter dietary supplements. Soy-infant formulas
are widely used. It is estimated that 10-20 percent of infants in the United
States are fed soy formula.**, *** It is often administered to infants as
a supplement or replacement for maternal breast milk or cow’s milk.
Soy products are often promoted as a natural, safe way to achieve at
least some of the benefits of hormone replacement therapy in adults,
but there is growing public concern about the long-term effects of consuming
soy. There is a need to look at available evidence from reproductive
and developmental animal and human toxicity studies, as well as exposure
data from infants and women of reproductive age, to determine if phytoestrogens
in soy infant formulas adversely affect human growth, development, or
reproduction. The draft report on genistein is available for review at
The soy formula draft report is at http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/chemicals/genistein-soy/soyformula/Soy-report-FR.pdf.
||The Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction
(CERHR) was established by the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences (NIEHS) as part of the National Toxicology Program in 1998. CERHR
convenes a scientific expert panel that meets in a public forum to review,
discuss, and evaluate the scientific literature on a selected chemical.
CERHR selects chemicals for evaluation based upon several factors including
production volume, extent of human exposure, public concern, and the extent
of published information on reproductive or developmental toxicity. The
NTP is an HHS program established in 1978 that is headquartered at the
NIEHS, a part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIEHS Director,
Dr. David A. Schwartz, serves as the NTP Director.
||No registration is required. Members of the press interested
in attending or conducting on-site or phone interviews with any of the
scientists, please contact Robin Mackar at (919) 541-0073 or by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. She will
schedule interviews for the press availability period immediately following
the meeting. Details about the meeting, including panelists and agenda,
are posted on the NTP website http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/news/fedreg/fr12-16-2005.pdf.
* Soyfoods-Association-of-North-America. Soyfood Sales & Trends. Available at http://www.soyfoods.org/press/FAQ_sales.htm.
Soyfoods Association of North America. 2003.
** Essex, C. Phytoestrogens and Soy Based Infant Formula: Risks Remain Theoretical.
British Medical Journal 1996; 313: 507-508.
*** Strom, B. L., Schinnar, R., Ziegler, E. E., Barnhart, K. T., Sammel, M. D., Macones,
G. A., Stallings, V. A., Drulis, J. M., Nelson, S. E. and Hanson, S. A. Exposure to soy-based
formula in infancy and endocrinological and reproductive outcomes in young adulthood.
Jama 2001; 286: 807-14.