chemical information


Chemical Class:


Chemical SubClass

Polycyclic Musks

Found in these people:

Anonymous Adult 12

Found in these locations:

Mountain View, CA

Exposure routes:

Synthetic musk fragrance found in cosmetics and personal care products, detergents, perfumes.


Traseolide is a synthetic polycyclic musk used as a fragrance ingredient in a variety of consumer products, including soaps, perfumes, and cosmetics (Daughton 1999). Exposure to Traseolide can take place through dermal absorption, inhalation, and ingestion pathways. Inhalation of this chemical typically occurs through use of aerosolized consumer products, such as perfumes or air fresheners, that contain Traseolide; dermal exposure typically occurs through use of personal care products, such as lotion and cosmetics, that are applied to the skin (Daughton 1999).

The use of polycyclic musks in a broad range of consumer products has led to widespread exposures of the general population. Polycyclic musk production and use has increased in recent years, due to a decrease in use of related fragrance chemicals, known as nitromusks, secondary to concerns about toxicological effects (Daughton 1999). Though Traseolide is not as commonly used as other polycyclic musks, such as Galaxolide and Tonalide, it has been detected in breast milk, adipose tissue, and blood in humans (Rimkus 1996; TNO 2004; Duedahl-Olesen 2005).

Studies of lake waters and sediments in the United States have shown that Traseolide, though present, is less prevalent in the environment than other polycyclic musks (Fromme 2001; Peck 2004, 2006; Duedahl-Olesen 2005). Contamination of water bodies with Traseolide, through discharges of treated wastewater containing musks derived from cosmetics and other everyday goods, has even led to detectable amounts of Traseolide in some fish (Fromme 2001; Duedahl-Olesen 2005). Measurement of the levels of Traseolide in different layers of Lake Ontario sediment indicates that discharge of this chemical has increased considerably in recent years (Peck 2006).

Polycyclic musks are lipophilic, or "fat-loving," meaning they can build up in the bodies of humans and wildlife over time (Daughton 1999). Very little is known about potential, long term toxic effects of human exposure to Traseolide. A recent study using aquatic organisms showed that exposure to Traseolide 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 inhibition could result in accumulation of toxic substances within cells. 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).


Synthetic fragrance in soaps, perfumes, cosmetics. Animal study indicates interference with a cell's ability to rid itself of toxic substances. Bioaccumulative.

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

Other health concerns for Traseolide (References)

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

Results for Traseolide

Traseolide 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 0.57

Traseolide 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.