A study in the August 2009 issue of Journal Science of the Total Environment reports that synthetic musks can be found in the blood stream of people using body care and perfume products and that the more people use them, the higher the levels are. Age is a predictor of the type of synthetic musks that will be found in the blood with the younger age group having more of the polycyclic musks vs. the nitromusks that were banned in the 1990s because they were found in the wildlife and raised concerns over toxicity.
"Some musks are known to affect reproduction in rats and fish and can damage the DNA in cells. However, their effects on humans are not known. It is clear though that humans are being exposed to these synthetic fragrances.
This study measured levels of 11 different nitro and polycyclic musks in the blood of 55 female and 45 male students (ages 19 to 43) from Austria. The researchers measured musk levels in the blood and compared them to body mass index, skin type (oily, normal or dry), fish consumption and use of cosmetics. Surveys were used to determine the numbers of times the students ate fish and used lotion, deodorant, perfume, shampoo, air fresheners and hair sprays..."
"Six synthetic musks were found in the blood samples. Musk xylene and musk ketone were the most common nitromusks (in 45 percent and 4 percent of the samples, respectively) and the highest respective levels measured were 60 and 67 parts per trillion. Higher levels of these musks were found in people with more skin surface area. Levels of musk xylene were slightly lower and levels of musk ketone were much lower than what was measured in the blood of women in Germany in the mid 1990s.
In contrast, the polycyclic musk galaxolide was found in 83 percent of the students and at levels up to 4,100 parts per trillion. The second most common polycyclic musk was tonalide and it was found in 16 of the individuals at levels up to 800 parts per trillion.
One other study has shown similar or lower concentrations of polycyclic musks in blood samples of Germans in the late 1990s. For these fragrances, higher levels were seen in younger people and those that used more body lotions and perfumes."
Another older article on synthetic musks in mother's milk,
"Previous research has documented synthetic musks in breast milk in women from the United States, Denmark and Germany, but this new work is the first to correlate quantities of musks with the women's product use. The team found that women who used a lot of perfume during pregnancy had high amounts of the musk HHCB in their milk. Levels of the musk AHTN were elevated in the milk of women who used perfumed laundry detergent."
Another one still,