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Scientific panel evaluates soy infant formula safety


Members of the media are invited to attend a press availability period at noon on Friday, December 18, 2009 that will follow a scientific meeting evaluating the safety of soy infant formula. An independent panel of 14 scientists will evaluate the most current research on soy infant formula to determine whether exposure to soy infant formula is a risk to human development. The expert panel will also indentify data gaps and research needs. The panel is convened by the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP).


Soy formula is fed to infants as a supplement or replacement for human milk or cow milk. Soy infant formula contains isoflavones such as genistein, daidzein, and glycitein. These isoflavones are naturally occurring plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, found at relatively high levels in soybeans and some other plants that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. The panel will review available evidence to determine if phytoestrogens in soy infant formula adversely affects human development. The panel will report its findings to the NTP.

The NTP convened a panel in 2006 to evaluate soy formula and genistein. The NTP did not complete the evaluation or issue a final opinion on this topic. Since 2006, a substantial number of new publications have been published for these substances, therefore NTP CERHR determined that an updated evaluation of soy formula is needed before NTP could develop its opinion on this topic. The panel will use all available information to issue new levels of concern conclusions about soy formula.


Wednesday, December 16, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST (Time is set aside on December 16 for oral public comments, limited to seven minutes per speaker or organization.)

Thursday, December 17, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST

Friday, December 18, 8:30 noon EST

Press Availability: Friday, December 18, 2008, approximately noon to 1:00 p.m. EST.


The Hilton Alexandria Old Town
1767 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: 1-703-837-0440


Contact: Robin Mackar
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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