Higher concentrations of synthetic fragrance in older women
Musk xylene an artificial musk used as a fragrance in consumer products, was one of the first chemicals to be identified as a Substance of Very High Concern under the European chemicals law REACH. A recently published study found that women over fifty years of age have higher concentrations of musk xylene in their blood than younger women. Researchers hypothesize that this may be due either to more frequent use of cosmetic and skin care products by older women, or greater accumulation of musk xylene over a woman’s lifespan. Older people often report having dry skin frequently, and may use skin care products more frequently. Also, changes due to aging might increase the amount of synthetic musks absorbed by an older person’s skin. The study was done by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Health, Centre for Public Health of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.
Why is Musk Xylene a REACH High Concern Chemical?
Increasing health and environmental concerns about musk xylene have been emerging over several decades, and its use has been declining since the mid 1980s. It was identified as a Substance of Very High Concern under REACH because of its very persistent (resists breaking down in the environment) and very bioaccumulative (when a body absorbs a toxic chemical more quickly than it is broken down or excreted) properties. It is also recognized as toxic to reproduction, category 2 (sufficient evidence from long-term animal studies and other relevant information to presume it impairs human fertility) ; as carcinogenic, category 3 (suspected but the available information is not adequate to presume it is carcinogenic). It is also recognized as explosive and dangerous for the environment, especially for water based organisms, according to the European Directive 67/548/EEC on the classification, packaging and labeling of dangerous substances.
Consequences of High Concern Status
Once a chemical has been officially placed on the candidate list, the European public has a right to know about the presence of these chemicals in products they buy, when they ask. Companies are obliged to respond to consumer right-to-know queries within 45 days of receiving the request, at no charge. Any member of the European public can ask whether a candidate substance is in a product they are buying by submitting a letter such as the model one in this brochure see Your Right to Know.
For more information on the study:
Written on 26 February 2010.