Health: Soya milk packed with hormones

Friday 04 July 1997 23:02 BST

Babies fed on soya-based milk are exposed to doses of hormone- like chemicals up to 11 times higher than those known to biologically affect adults, it was claimed yesterday.

According to a study in the medical journal the Lancet, infants given soya milk take in a 13,000-22,000 higher concentration of the plant oestrogen hormones than those fed on cow's milk or breast milk.

Researchers concluded this must have some biological effect on the babies - but as yet they do not know what they are. The report said: "Long-term follow-up studies are needed to assess the potential benefit or adverse effects of phyto-oestrogens exposure early in life."

To date there is no evidence that soya-based milk, which has been used for more than 30 years, causes any harm to infants. Some evidence suggests phyto-oestrogens may even be beneficial.

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