Environmental Sources, Occurrence, and Effects of Synthetic Musk Fragrances
Aaron Peck, Keri C. Hornbuckle
Synthetic musk fragrances are found in virtually every environmental compartment. They are a clear indicator of human impact in natural systems. In air, their concentrations are directly proportional to the human population nearby. In water, the frequency of their detection and the magnitude of their concentrations are a function of inputs of human wastewater. Several of the most widely used fragrances are nonbiodegradable and are accumulating in the environment. This is evident in lake cores that show historical inputs, and in mammals that retain them in their fat stores. Does this widespread exposure cause environmental degradation or harm? It is not clear, although there is strong evidence to suggest that they cause subtle effects in aquatic organisms.