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Fragrant chemicals may pose threat to humans, environment | Great Lakes Echo

Fragrant chemicals may pose threat to humans, environment | Great Lakes Echo.

From the 12 October 2011 Great Lakes Echo Blog

By Sara Matthews-Kaye

Editor’s note: Synthetic musk is one of the pollutants of emerging concern to be discussed Oct. 11-14 in Detroit at the 2011 Great Lakes WeekDetroit Public Television is providing ongoing coverage of Great Lakes Week at greatlakesnow.org

Some scientists worry that the chemicals that make lotion, soap, trash bags and a myriad of household products smell good are an emerging class of pollutants that threaten environmental and human health.

There is “supporting evidence that more study and research need to be done,” said Antonette Arvai, a physical scientist with the International Joint Commission, a U.S. and Canadian agency that will discuss newly emerging pollutants at its biennial meeting in Detroit this week.

Lotions, soaps and other pleasant smelling cosmetics may contain harmful chemicals. Photo: Normann Copenhagen (Flickr)

Use of fragrant chemicals in the United States has doubled since 1990. Arecent study by the commission identifies synthetic musk fragrance, used in a great number of personal care and cleaning products, as a chemical of emerging concern.

“When musk is applied to the structure of a cell wall, more toxins can pass through it,” Arvai said.  The commission has recommended that scientists and regulatory authorities in both countries study the health risk of synthetic musks.

Concerns go beyond human health. Synthetic musk accumulates in aquatic organisms over time.  A2009 studyinEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistryreported that two musk fragrances, Galaxolide and Tonalide, were found in every sample of fish taken from the North Shore Channel in Chicago.

A large portion of world-wide musk production is Galaxolide and Tonalide.

Read the entire article

November 20, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , ,

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