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Paraffin in skin creams linked to fire deaths

You may have read in the news this week (19 March 2017) about the link between people using paraffin based skin creams and dozens of fire deaths across England. People living with conditions such as eczema and psoriasis who use paraffin based creams and emollients may be at risk of setting themselves on fire.

It is worth emphasising that the use of the creams themselves for the treatment of skin conditions are not dangerous. The only becomes dangerous when mixed with other factors.  An example of one of the deaths is Philip Hoe who died after accidentally setting himself on fire at Doncaster Royal Infirmary in 2006 when sparks from a cigarette reacted with the emollient cream he was covered in.

The Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have issued warnings in the past, but only asked that a flammability warning  should be on the packaging if a cream contained more than 50% paraffin. However, in light of the risks and because there have been 37 deaths linked with paraffin based creams since 2010, MHRA is now urging manufacturers to add a warning to the packaging of skin creams containing any level of paraffin.

More information on fire deaths related to the use of paraffin based creams.

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