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Musk Compounds in the Nordic environment

image of Musk Compounds in the Nordic environment

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.

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Samples from the Nordic Countries

Musk compounds are introduced into the environment from sewage water. They are partly retained and degraded in sewage treatment plants. During treatment in the plants musks may be released to the air. Effluents from treatment plants are a major source of synthetic musk compounds to the aquatic environment and can be accumulated in aquatic organisms. Musk compounds are further released directly to air from cosmetics and household products where musk compounds are used as fragrances. Rainwater may wash musk compounds from the atmosphere. Humans are exposed to musk compounds directly from cosmetics and washed fabrics and the compounds may end up in fat tissues and in breast milk. Musk compounds may enter the terrestrial food chain from the above mentioned sources and via household waste. Foxes in urban areas feed partly on garbage from households. They are also predators and may accumulate musk compounds via the food chain.

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