The Long-Term Effects of Sediment-Bound Galaxolide on Lumbriculus variegatus

The demand for scented products, such as those in perfumes, soaps, and household detergents continue to increase globally. This has resulted in the ingredients of these products being more frequently detected in aquatic environments. Musk compounds are one such group, as compounds such as 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta[g]-2-benzopyran (more commonly referred to as galaxolide) are becoming more ubiquitous in aquatic environments. Galaxolide is used to enhance the aroma and increase the shelf life of a multitude of products and has now been characterized as an ‘emerging’ contaminant. Although concerns continue to grow regarding the risk of these compounds, limited toxicity information is currently available. Of the studies available, most show that acute toxicity of pelagic aquatic organisms is unlikely at current concentrations in the environment. However, most studies have focussed only on acute risk and in pelagic species while the high log Kow (5.9) suggests galaxolide will partition preferentially to the sediment fraction. In this study, a chronic toxicity test was conducted with the sediment dwelling Lumbriculus variegatus to evaluate the effects of sediment-bound galaxolide on reproduction and growth over ~ two life cycles of the organisms (56 days). Concentrations closer to those that are environmentally relevant (namely 1 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg) were evaluated. The results provide evidence that sub-lethal markers of exposure including reproduction and growth are affected at much lower concentrations than those that are needed to cause acute toxicity. Long-term studies with other more sensitive species, could further elucidate the risk of these compounds to benthic invertebrates.