Perfumes Find Their Way Into Human Breast Milk

Here's another reason to avoid potentially dangerous cosmetics, especially if you're a mom: Higher levels of synthetic polycyclic musk fragrances have been found in the breast milk of American mothers.

If you think synthetic musk fragrances are only found in products so labeled, guess again, as the list of common household items is HUGE, ranging from shampoos, shaving creams, fabric softeners, air fresheners and some unscented products. Chances are very good, in fact, synthetic musks can be found in any consumer product with a pleasant smell, says one New York toxicologist

Among the harmful musk chemicals babies detected in the samples of breast milk collected in Massachusetts: Xylene, ketone, HHCB, HHCB-lactone (the oxidation product of HHCB) and AHTN. HHCB topped the list of synthetic musks found in breast milk and they were found to be at levels five times higher than those reported a decade ago in Denmark and Germany.

The only "good news" here, albeit very slight: Babies ingested more persistent organic pollutants than musk products. Please be aware that synthetic musks are merely a single set of many harmful chemicals hiding out in your bathroom you must avoid to protect your health.

Environmental Science & Technology April 18, 2007

Environmental Science & Technology Online April 18, 2007

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