Linking the Use of Scented Consumer Products to Consumer Exposure to Polycyclic Musk Fragrances


  • Matthias Wormuth,

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    • 1

      Researcher investigating the consumer exposure to chemicals widely applied in consumer products in his dissertation

  • Martin Scheringer,

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      Senior scientist working on the analysis and assessment of human and environmental exposure to chemical products

  • Konrad Hungerbühler

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      Professor of chemistry and head of the Safety and Environmental Technology Group, at the Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.

Safety and Environmental Technology Group Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Hönggerberg, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland <>


Synthetic organic chemicals are ingredients of many consumer products used daily. Consumers are therefore constantly exposed to a broad spectrum of synthetic organic chemicals, which might be irritants or have other effects harmful to human health, in the consumption phase of the product life cycle. Relevant examples are the polycyclic musk fragrances that make up an important group of synthetic fragrance compounds. Using a scenario-based approach, we simulate various product uses and calculate the resulting dermal exposure to the musk fragrances 6-acetyl-1,1,2,4,4,7-hexamethyltetraline and hexahydro-hexamethyl-cyclopenta (γ)-2-benzopyran for a wide spectrum of consumer products. The product spectrum was selected from scented personal care products and household cleansing agents. Exposure to musk fragrances is calculated with two dermal exposure models, and results are presented for female and male European consumers. The variability of required inputs is accounted for by assuming minimal, average or median, and maximal values for important model parameters. The study identifies a limited number of types of scented consumer products as significantly contributing to daily dermal consumer exposure to musk fragrances. Exposure levels resulting from the simultaneous use of these products and the number of exposed consumers are investigated.