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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2001 May;203(4):293-9.

Evaluation of health risks caused by musk ketone.

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Institute of Microbiology and Hygiene, Faculty of Clinical Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, P.O. Box 100023, D-68135 Mannheim, Germany.


Among the nitro musks, musk ketone (MK) as a synthetic compound with a typical musk odor is widely used in cosmetics. In the European Community the total amount used in fragrances has been reported to be 110 tons/a. Additionally, relevant amounts of MK are used in Indian joss sticks. As a result of its inherently low biodegradability MK has been detected in the aquatic environment (surface water, sediments, edible fish). Moreover, it has been shown that MK concentrates in human fatty tissue and breast milk, indicating that humans are constantly exposed. Several studies provided convincing evidence of lack of a genotoxic potential for MK. However, MK was identified as a strong inducer of phase I enzymes in rodents and a cogenotoxicant in vitro in human derived cells in rather low doses, suggesting that exposure to MK might increase the susceptibility to health hazards caused by carcinogens in humans.

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