Musk Compounds in the Nordic environment

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Synthetic musk compounds are fragrances used in a wide variety of consumer products such as cosmetics, laundry detergents and other cleaning agents. The use leads to emission of musk compounds into the atmosphere and into wastewater. The compounds are persistent and may bioaccumulate in the environment. This report presents the results of a screening of musk compounds in the Nordic environment represented by rain water, sewage sludge, fox liver and blue mussels.




Synthetic musks mainly encompass two groups of compounds: Nitro musks and polycyclic musks. The nitro musks include a group of five synthetic alkylated nitro benzenes: musk moskene, musk tibetene, musk xylene, musk ketone and musk ambrette. The polycyclic musks are chemically alkylated tetralin or indane systems. Main representatives are Galaxolide (HHCB), Tonalide (AHTN), Celestolide (ADBI), Phantolide (AHMI) and Traseolide (AITI) (Herren and Berset 2000). Cashmeran (DPMI) resembles the polyclic musks and is considered to be a polycyclic musk by Rimkus 1998, but structure, physical and chemical properties and odour differ from those of regular polycyclic musks. A sixth polycyclic musk, Versalide, has not been produced since 1980 because of strong neurotoxic effects (Rimkus 1999). Galaxolide and Tonalide are the two most important polycyclic musks probably sharing 95% of the market for polycyclic musks.


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