Determinants of exposure to fragranced product chemical mixtures in a sample of twins

Matthew O. Gribble, Karen Bandeen-Roche, Mary A. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Fragranced product chemical mixtures may be relevant for environmental health, but little is known about exposure. We analyzed results from an olfactory challenge with the synthetic musk fragrance 1,3,4,6,7,8-hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethyl-cyclopento-γ-2- benzopyran (HHCB), and a questionnaire about attitudes toward chemical safety and use of fragranced products, in a sample of 140 white and 17 black twin pairs attending a festival in Ohio. Data for each product were analyzed using robust ordered logistic regressions with random intercepts for “twin pair” and “sharing address with twin”, and fixed effects for sex, age, education, and “ever being bothered by fragrances”. Due to the small number of black participants, models were restricted to white participants except when examining racial differences. Overall patterns of association were summarized across product-types through random-effects meta-analysis. Principal components analysis was used to summarize clustering of product use. The dominant axis of variability in fragranced product use was “more vs. less”, followed by a distinction between household cleaning products and personal care products. Overall, males used fragranced products less frequently than females (adjusted proportionate odds ratio 0.55, 95% confidence interval 0.33, 0.93). This disparity was driven by personal care products (0.42, 95% CI: 0.19, 0.96), rather than household cleaning products (0.79, 95% CI: 0.49, 1.25) and was particularly evident for body lotion (0.12, 95% CI: 0.05, 0.27). Overall usage differed by age (0.64, 95% CI: 0.43, 0.95) but only hand soap and shampoo products differed significantly. “Ever being bothered by fragrance” had no overall association (0.92, 95% CI: 0.65, 1.30) but was associated with laundry detergent use (0.46, 95% CI: 0.23, 0.93). Similarly, black vs. white differences on average were not significant (1.34, 95% CI: 0.55, 3.28) but there were apparent differences in use of shampoo (0.01, 95% CI: 0.00, 0.69), body lotion (4.67, 95% CI: 1.18, 18.47), and perfume (6.22, 95% CI:1.08, 35.89). There was no overall association with thinking about product risks (0.90, 95% CI: 0.79, 1.02), nor with inability to smell HHCB (0.84, 95% CI: 0.63, 1.12). Exposure to fragranced products may differ demographically. The relevance for health disparities should be studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1466-1486
Number of pages21
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 27 2015


  • Anosmia
  • Environmental psychology
  • Exposure assessment
  • Exposure disparities
  • Fragrance
  • Galaxolide
  • HHCB
  • Risk perception
  • Women’s health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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