chemical information


Chemical Class:


Chemical SubClass

Polycyclic Musks

Found in these people:

Anonymous Adult 10

Found in these locations:

San Francisco, CA

Exposure routes:

Synthetic musk fragrance found in cosmetic products, cleaning agents, detergents, perfumes.


Celestolide is a polycyclic musk commonly used as a fragrance ingredient in a wide variety of personal care and other everyday products, including cosmetics, cleaning agents, detergents, air fresheners, and perfumes (Daughton 1999). Exposures can occur through inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion. Polycyclic musk production has increased in recent years, due to a decrease in production of nitromusks secondary to concerns about toxicological effects (Daughton 1999).

Celestolide is lipophilic, or "fat loving," and accumulates in human adipose tissue and breast milk (Muller 1996; Rimkus 1996); in addition, it is persistent in the environment due to an extremely low rate of biodegradation (Daughton 1999). Celestolide has been found in the sediment of Lake Ontario, originating from discharges of treated wastewater (Peck 2006); from there, it can be ingested by aquatic organisms and bioaccumulate in fish (Fromme 2001; Duedahl-Olesen 2005). Measurement of the concentration of Celestolide in different layers of the Lake Ontario sediment indicates that discharge of this chemical has increased steadily for decades (Peck 2006).

Very little is known about the toxic effects of Celestolide in humans. A recent study with Celestolide in marine mussels found that exposure can cause long term inhibition of specific transporters in cell walls that are responsible for keeping toxic molecules from entering the cell (Luckenbach 2005). This effect, observed to last over 1 to 2 days after exposure, could result in an accumulation of other toxic substances within cells, and greater levels of cell damage caused by these other substances. These same cell wall transporters are found in human tissue as well; further studies should be conducted to investigate any implications of these findings for human health (Luckenbach 2005).

Celestolide has also been found to inhibit the larval development of different species of small aquatic crustaceans, called copepods, at low levels (Breitholtz 2003; Wollenberger 2003), indicating that it is highly toxic to some aquatic organisms.


Synthetic fragrance in cosmetics, detergents, air fresheners, perfumes. Animal study indicates interference with a cell's ability to prevent entry of toxic substances. Bioaccumulative.

Celestolide has been found in 1 of the 52 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.

Other health concerns for Celestolide (References)

health concern or target organ weight of evidence
Chronic effects, generalunknown

Other relevant risk considerations for Celestolide (References)

Wildlife and environmental toxicity

Results for Celestolide

Celestolide was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 1 of 52 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in blood serum (wet weight)

Showing results from EWG/Commonweal Study #7, consumer product chemicals in adults and teens, Adult Minority Leader Report, EWG Study #10, cosmetic chemicals in teens, Other Body Burden Studies

EWG/Commonweal results

  • found in 1 of 42 people in the group
ng/g (wet weight) in blood serum 0.08

Celestolide results

in whole blood (wet weight)

Showing results from Pollution in Minority Newborns

EWG/Commonweal results

  • found in 0 of 10 people in the group

found in 0 of 10 people

Detailed toxicity classifications (References)

classification governing entity/references
Chronic effects, general - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedLuckenbach, T. and D. Epel (2005). "Nitromusk and polycyclic musk compounds as long-term inhibitors of cellular xenobiotic defense systems mediated by multidrug transporters." Environ Health Perspect 113(1): 17-24.
Wildlife and environmental toxicityBreitholtz M, Wollenberger L, Dinan L. 2003. Effects of four synthetic musks on the life cycle of the harpacticoid copepod Nitocra spinipes. Aquat Toxicol 63(2): 103-118. Wollenberger L, Breitholtz M, Ole Kusk K, Bengtsson BE. 2003. Inhibition of larval development of the marine copepod Acartia tonsa by four synthetic musk substances. Sci Total Environ 305(1-3): 53-64.