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New warnings over the danger of 'safe' paraffin skin creams

A whole range of skin creams will soon be sold with new warnings.

The manufacturers are working on the details.

It will take a bit of time to decide on the precise wording which they promise will be “clear and consistent”.

The move comes after fire service analysis revealed there have been at least 44 fatal incidents in the UK where paraffin skin creams are suspected as part of the cause.

Paraffin creams are safe, the ingredient has well proven therapeutic qualities.

It is used in some moisturisers, antiseptics and cleansing lotions.

Paraffin creams are deemed safe and have well proven therapeutic qualities. Credit: ITV News

The problem only comes if residue ends up on material which can burn - and the person wearing it is in contact with a source of fire.

Danger comes when people use the creams and they soak into clothing or bedding.

Once that happens a cigarette, a candle or another source of fire can lead to a fierce and rapid ignition.

What makes this worse is that many of the users of these products are older consumers with mobility difficulties, making it hard for them to escape.

There is no legal requirement for a fire warning on packs.

Creams on clothing and bedding are susceptible to a fierce and rapid ignition. Credit: Fire Service Video

Some creams carry one - others do not. Today the industry signaled that it is moving to a far more consistent approach.

The trade association representing healthcare product manufacturers is the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB).

Its Chief Executive John Smith comments: "Safety is of paramount importance to the consumer healthcare industry and we take concerns about safety warnings on paraffin based emollients very seriously.

“PAGB and its member companies are engaged closely with the current ongoing MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) review of paraffin-based emollients to ensure appropriate steps are taken to add warning statements to product packaging and patient information leaflets. Many manufacturers have already added warnings, and others are in the process of doing so."