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Review article2019Peer reviewed

Effect of polycyclic musk compounds on aquatic organisms: A critical literature review supplemented by own data

Tumova, Jitka; Sauer, Pavel; Golovko, Oksana; Ucun, Olga Koba; Grabic, Roman; Machova, Jana; Kroupova, Hana Kocour


Synthetic musk compounds are extensively used in personal care and cosmetic products around the world. Because they are not completely removed in sewage treatment plants, they eventually end up in aquatic environments. The aim of this reviewwas to summarize published information on effects of polycyclicmusks on aquatic organisms and to discuss whether the experimental design of toxicological studies involving these substances could influence the results obtained. With the exception of one study run in a flow-through system, all published toxicological studies on synthetic polycyclic musks have been conducted in semi-static or even static systems. Based upon data in the literature and our own results, we conclude that in toxicological tests with semi-static set-ups, concentrations of polycyclic musks decrease with time between bath exchanges, and, as a result, tested organisms are not being exposed to stable concentrations but rather to concentration pulses. The duration and character of these pulses are influenced mainly by aeration of experimental baths, as polycyclicmusks have a tendency to volatilize from water baths. Under semi-static conditions, tested organisms may be subjected to lower concentration of the tested substance for relatively long periods. Those levels may even fall below the limits of quantification. During these periods, some level of detoxification and/or elimination (depuration) of the toxicant may reduce toxic effect of the previous exposures. Consequently, toxicity of polycyclic musk substances for aquatic organisms obtained under these conditions may be underestimated. Based upon existing data in the literature, therefore, it is very difficult to correctly estimate risk of polycyclic musks to aquatic organisms. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


In vivo effects; Bioaccumulation; Bioconcentration; Tonalide; Galaxolide; Pulse exposure

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2019, Volume: 651, pages: 2235-2246

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

    Publication identifier


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