Biomonitoring data on young adults from the Environmental Specimen Bank suggest a decrease in the exposure to the fragrance chemical 7-hydroxycitronellal in Germany from 2000 to 2018

2020, Journals

Pluym, Nikola; Petreanu, Wolf; Weber, Till; Scherer, Max; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 227 (2020), June 2020, 113508; online 12 March 2020


7-Hydroxy-3,7-dimethyl-1-octanal, also known as 7-hydroxycitronellal (7-HC, CAS No. 107-75-5) is a synthetic fragrance widely used in cosmetic and hygiene products. Because of its wide spread use and its known sensitizing properties, 7-HC was selected as one of 50 chemicals within the frame of the cooperation project between the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) to develop a suitable human biomonitoring (HBM) method in order to assess the exposure of the general population in Germany. Within this scope, the recently published analytical method for urinary 7-hydroxycitronellylic acid (7-HCA), the major metabolite of 7-HC, was applied to 329 24h-urine samples of young adults (20 to 29 years) collected between 2000 and 2018 and stored in the Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB). The widespread exposure to 7-HC as already observed in a pilot study with 40 volunteers could be confirmed with quantifiable concentrations of 7-HCA in all 329 study samples (mean: 14.9 ng/mL; median: 8.1 ng/mL). A significant, chronological decrease in 7-HCA levels was found for the monitored years (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2018). The most pronounced decline occurred between 2000 and 2004 (means: 34.37 versus 23.31, medians: 20.97 versus 12.49 μg/24h; p < 0.01). On average, females exhibited higher levels of urinary 7-HCA compared to males (29.34 versus 17.21 μg/24h, p < 0.05). Based on the urinary 7-HCA excretion, the daily intake (DI) of 7-HC normalized for body weight (bw) was estimated. Over all sampling years, average DI in females was significantly higher compared to males (0.99 versus 0.46 μg/kg bw/d). Assuming dermal exposure as the main route of 7-HC intake, the mean DIs correspond to <0.1% of the derived no effect level (DNEL) of 1,100 μg/kg bw/d defined by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA). The presented results for the exposure to the widely used fragrance 7-HC in Germany can be substantiated by applying the described methodology to the representative cohort of the launched German Environmental Survey in adults (GerES VI).

doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2020.113508