chemical information


Chemical Class:


Chemical SubClass

Polycyclic Musks

Found in these people:

not found

Found in these locations:

not found


Phantolide is a polycyclic musk, a group of synthetic fragrance chemicals typically used in cosmetics, perfumes, air fresheners, cleaning products, detergents, soap, and many other everyday products with artificial scents. Exposures to polycyclic musks in the general population are widespread, due to their presence in this broad variety of consumer goods. Though Phantolide is not as commonly used as other polycyclic musks, such as Galaxolide and Tonalide, it has been detected in human breast milk and blood on occasion (Duedahl-Olesen 2005; Hutter 2005).

Use of products containing musks has resulted in contamination of treated wastewater and water bodies near large communities. Phantolide has been detected infrequently in water from the San Francisco Bay (Oros 2002), in sediments from the Great Lakes (Peck 2006), and in fish from around the world (Fromme 2001; Duedahl-Olesen et al. 2005; Schmid 2007).

Polycyclic musks are lipophilic, or "fat-loving," meaning they accumulate in the bodies of humans and wildlife over time (Daughton 1999). Very little is known about the toxic effects of Phantolide in humans or animals. Studies suggest related polycyclic musk chemicals may cause disruption of the hormone system (Seinen 1999; Chou 1999; Bitsch 2002; Schreurs 2004, 2005a, b; Gomez 2005); similar studies on Phantolide are needed.

A laboratory investigation of several nitro- and polycyclic musks revealed that this family of chemicals can inhibit the activity of specific biological structures in cell walls responsible for preventing toxic molecules from entering cells (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. While this study was conducted on marine mussels, the affected cell wall transporter structures are found in human tissue as well.

Growing concerns about the health effects of nitromusks have led the European Union to ban the use of some of these chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products. As a result, the use of polycyclic musks like Phantolide has increased. In the United States, all musk chemicals are unregulated, and safe levels of exposure have not yet been set.


Synthetic fragrance in cosmetics. Bioaccumulates in people. Potential hormone disruptor.

Phantolide has been found in 0 of the 33 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.

Results for Phantolide

Phantolide was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 0 of 33 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in blood serum (wet weight)

Showing results from EWG Study #10, cosmetic chemicals in teens, Adult Minority Leader Report, Other Body Burden Studies

EWG/Commonweal results

  • found in 0 of 23 people in the group

found in 0 of 23 people

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