I daresay some readers have already seen the warnings spreading from England about the use of paraffin-based skin creams.
Paraffin-based skin creams may be linked to hundreds of deaths, a senior firefighter has warned.
Chris Bell, a watch commander with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the creams - used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis - are safe to use.
But he warned they can become flammable when they soak into fabrics, clothing, bandages and dressings, then come into contact with a cigarette, naked flame or other heat source.
"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," he told the BBC.
His comments come after an investigation by BBC 5 live Investigates and Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire found only seven of 38 products containing paraffin that are licensed in the UK carry warnings on their packaging.
There's more at the link.
The trouble is, the word "paraffin" may apply to different substances in different parts of the world. Wikipedia offers the following list, with links to each product for more details:
- Paraffin wax, a white or colourless soft solid that is used as a lubricant and for other applications
- Liquid paraffin (drug), a very highly refined mineral oil used in cosmetics and for medical purposes
- Alkane, a saturated hydrocarbon
- Kerosene, a fuel that is also known as paraffin
- Mineral oil, any of various colorless, odorless, light mixtures of alkanes in the C15 to C40 range from a non-vegetable (mineral) source, particularly a distillate of petroleum
- Petroleum jelly, also called soft paraffin
- Tractor vaporising oil, a fuel
That's a pretty sobering thought. I use moisturizing cream on my arms and face in the dry Texas climate, as many people do. It's scary to think that might be a fire hazard, under the right circumstances. I'll have to check my moisturizing cream carefully.