From previous studies carried out in the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma over the years 1979-1980, it was hypothesized that calf meat-derived, homogenized and lyophilized baby food might contain high doses of compounds endowed with oestrogenic actiuity.
Thus, analytical investigations performed on 450 samples of commercial baby-food products, showed that 150 of them contained a powerful oestrogenic substance, later on identified as diethylstilbestrol (DES), in high amount (20 to 140 ug/kg food).
Since meat from calves illegally treated with xenobiotic drugs having hormonal activity generally contains modest yet potentially dangerous levels of such compounds (in the range 0.1 to 2 ug/kg meat), it was derived that the elevated DES levels in homogenized products could be originated from working plout or injectable preparation DES residues, given to animals as auxin.
Similar considerations are advanced to explain the etiopathogenesis of gynoecomastia, early pseudopuberty, or troubles in the sex organs of school-age children described in Italy as well as in other countries during these later years.
The case of diethylstilbestrol treated veal contained in homogenized baby-foods in Italy. Methodological and toxicological aspects, Annali dell’Istituto superiore di sanita, NCBI PubMed PMID: 6549589, 1984.
Breast enlargement in two young girls following stilbestrol exposure, 1953
“The purpose of this paper is to report 2 cases of precocious secondary sexual development resulting from the ingestion of estrogenic substances by young girls, to point out the clinical peculiarities of this type of sexual precocity and to emphasize the importance of including estrogen ingestion in the differential diagnosis of pseudopuberty in females.”
Gynecomastia with pigmentation in a 10 months old male following stilbestrol exposure, 1952
“A boy, aged 10 months, showed a progressive gynaecomastia, increasing pigmentation of areolae mammae, penis and scrotum, and growth of sexual hair. The symptoms were caused by percutaneous absorption of stilbestrol. The identical picture was demonstrated experimentally in another case. — The mechanism of development of the syndrome is briefly discussed.”
“Gynecomastia with pigmentation of the nipples and areolae is reported in a four year old male following exposure to stilbestrol, which was packaged by his mother in a pharmaceutical laboratory and later in the home. This is believed to be the first case to be described.”
Gynecomastia with pigmentation in a four year old male following stilbestrol exposure, American Academy of Pediatrics, VOLUME 9 / ISSUE 1, 1952.
“For a time the mother packaged the pellets by machine at home, and diethylstilbestrol dust was present in the air on a number of occasions. The estrogenic effects here were presumably due to inhalation of the diethylstilbestrol dust and contact with the mother’s contaminated clothing.”
The purpose of this paper is to report the occurrence of gynecomastia in a 3-year-old boy and pseudoprecocious puberty in his 23-month-old sister following exposure to diethylstilbestrol (stilbestrol).
Report of Cases A 38/12-year-old white boy was seen in the Yale Private Diagnostic Clinic on Oct. 22, 1956, because of bilateral breast enlargement present since January, 1956. There were no other complaints. Growth and development had otherwise been normal. The child was in the 50th percentile for height and 90th percentile for weight. As illustrated in Figure 1, the breasts were enlarged to a moderate degree. Freely moveable, circumscribed masses of glandular tissue about 2 cm. in diameter were palpable under the areolae. The nipples, areolae, and linea alba were deeply pigmented. A scanty amount of downy pubic hair was present. Axillary hair was absent. Neurologic and funduscopic examinations were negative. The testes were of normal size. No palpable testicular masses.