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Skin Care Ingredient Linked to Fire-Related Deaths—Here’s What You Need to Know

A BBC investigation has found a very scary link between paraffin-based creams—as in those used to treat conditions such as eczema and psoriasis—and fired-related deaths in the UK, linking the skin care solution to “hundreds of fatalities.”

While the creams are safe to use on the skin, the report states that, “if people use the creams regularly but do not often change clothes or bedding, paraffin residue can soak into the fabric and act as an accelerant when it comes into contact with a cigarette or a flame from a heater.”

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Although the BBC investigated the link last March, this particular warning from Chris Bell, firefighter with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, is new and he pegs that the number of people who may have died as a result of the creams is “likely” much higher that previously thought. 

“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.

The report also found that not all of the creams come with a warning but the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency advises that, “patients’ clothing and bedding should be changed regularly—preferably daily—because emollients soak into fabric and can become a fire hazard.”

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