Levels of synthetic musks in municipal wastewater for estimating biota exposure in receiving waters

Lantis Iyayi Osemwengie, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Natural musks (Civetone, Exaltone, muscone) are of commercial importance for their exotic odor in expensive consumer fragrances. Inexpensive synthetic substitutes have been commercialized over the last 40 years. The commercial nitro musks include musk ketone, musk moskene, musk ambrette, musk xylene, and musk tibetene. The commercial polycyclic musks include trade name compounds such as GalaxolideRTM, TonalideRTM, Celestolide RTM, TraseolideRTM, PhantolideRTM, and CashmeranRTM, among others. These consumer chemicals are manufactured and consumed in very large quantities worldwide. Due to their high use and release, they have become ubiquitous in the environment. Lake Mead sediments and water, confluence of three municipal sewage effluents, and carp (Cyprinus carpio)) were analyzed for synthetic musks over a twelve-month period. The innovative methods used for water sampling and extractions are presented along with data that provides an insight as to the relationship between the concentrations of synthetic musk in the municipal effluent and associated biota; This study confirmed the presence of polycyclic and nitro musk compounds in Lake Mead water and carp. The concentrations were found to be considerably lower than previous studies in most foreign countries. This study also statistically established that the variations in the concentrations of HHCB (polycyclic musk) and MX (nitro musk) in carp are functions of their levels in the sewage treatment plant effluent.