Nitro Musks Group - information sheet
Ethanone, 1-[4-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-2,6-dimethyl-3,5-dinitrophenyl]-(musk ketone)
CAS Registry Number 81-14-1
Benzene, 1-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-3,5-dimethyl-2,4,6-trinitro-(musk xylene)
CAS Registry Number 81-15-2
On this page
- About these substances
- Human and ecological exposures
- Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Risk assessment outcomes
- Preventive actions and reducing risk
- Related information
- The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment from the 2 substances in the Nitro Musks Group (musk ketone and musk xylene).
Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the risk posed by a substance is determined by considering both its hazardous properties (its potential to cause adverse human health or ecological effects) and the amount of exposure there is to people and the environment. A substance may have hazardous properties; however, the risk to human health or to the environment may be low depending upon the level of exposure.
- More information on assessing risk can be found in the Overview of Risk Assessment and related fact sheets, particularly on Types of Risk Assessment Documents and the Risk Assessment Toolbox.
- As a result of the screening assessment, the Government concluded that musk ketone and musk xylene are not harmful to human health or to the environment at levels of exposure current at the time of the assessment. Although these substances are associated with ecological effects of concern, the risk to the environment is low at levels of exposure current at the time of the assessment.
About these substances
- The screening assessment focused on 2 substances, musk ketone and musk xylene, referred to collectively under the Chemicals Management Plan as the Nitro Musks Group.
- These substances do not occur naturally in the environment.
- According to information gathered by the Government, in Canada they are used primarily as fragrances or fragrance ingredients in products that are available to consumers.
Human and ecological exposures
- Canadians may be exposed to musk ketone and musk xylene from indoor air and from using certain products, such as cosmetics, air fresheners and cleaning products.
- Musk ketone and musk xylene are mainly released into wastewater through the use of products available to consumers, or as a result of the formulation of cleaning and personal care products. These substances have the potential to be released to the environment through effluent and biosolids from wastewater treatment facilities. Such releases, however, are below levels of concern to aquatic and soil-dwelling organisms.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- To inform the health effects characterization in the screening assessment, international reports of data on these substances were considered, including assessments by the European Commission, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
- The critical effects identified for characterizing the risk to human health for these substances were effects on the liver, and decreased body weight and food consumption.
- Musk ketone and musk xylene are considered to be persistent in the environment, have, respectively, moderate and high bioaccumulation potential, and have the potential to cause adverse effects in aquatic organisms at low concentrations.
Risk assessment outcomes
- Based upon the information presented in the screening assessment, the risk to human health from musk ketone and musk xylene is considered to be low.
- Considering all information presented in the screening assessment, it was determined that there is low risk of harm to the environment from these substances.
- The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for the Nitro Musks Group on August 1, 2020.
Screening assessment conclusions
- As a result of the screening assessment, the Government concluded that musk ketone and musk xylene are not harmful to human health at levels of exposure current at the time of the assessment, and that these 2 substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
Preventive actions and reducing risk
- Although musk ketone and musk xylene are not considered to be harmful to the environment at levels of exposure current at the time of the assessment, these substances are associated with ecological effects of concern based on their potential to cause adverse effects in aquatic organisms at low concentrations. Therefore, there may be a potential risk if exposure levels were to increase.
- For this reason, the Government will consider follow-up activities to track changes in exposure or commercial use patterns for these substances.
- Musk ketone and musk xylene may be found in products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions related to the product and dispose of products responsibly.
- The screening assessment focused on potential risks from exposure of the general population of Canada, rather than occupational exposure. Hazards related to chemicals used in the workplace are defined within the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. For information concerning workplace health and safety and what steps to take in the workplace, Canadians should consult their employer and/or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulator in their jurisdiction.
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