A report released by the BBC links the skin care ingredient paraffin with hundreds of fire-related deaths.
The ingredient, commonly found in skin creams and moisturizers that treat eczema and psoriasis, is an accelerant that can increase the spread of fire. When bed sheets and clothing aren’t washed frequently enough, paraffin can soak into them, proving to be recipe for disaster if a fire breaks out. There have been several cases of people being set on fire by matches and cigarettes simply because of how much paraffin was soaked into their clothing.
Firefighter Chris Bell from the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service told the BBC that they weren’t sure how many deaths could be linked to paraffin. "Hundreds of thousands of people use them, we're not sure how many fire deaths might have occurred but it could be into the hundreds."
The dangers of paraffin aren’t widely known, and most creams don’t carry a warning about the fire risk specifically, despite the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency asking all manufacturers to add them last year.
According to a joint investigation by 5 Live Investigates and Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in England, only seven out of 38 paraffin-based products sold in the United Kingdom carry the warning. The BBC had also discovered a link between the creams and 37 deaths by fire since 2010.There's been no word yet on any paraffin-related deaths in the United States, but it's better to err on the side of caution and read the ingredients on your moisturizer.
This post was written by Rebecca Cope. For more, check out our sister site Grazia.
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