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Paraffin-based creams linked to a number of fire deaths

An investigation by the BBC has revealed that a number of fire deaths have been linked to skin creams containing paraffin

oil-based ointment

20 March 2017

BBC Radio 5 live investigates found that 37 deaths in England have been linked to the creams since 2010.

Skin creams used to treat conditions such as eczema and psoriasis often contain paraffin which can soak into materials such as clothes and bedding and make them flammable.

The BBC investigation approached all 53 fire brigades in the UK to try to find out how many deaths had been linked to the skin creams since 2010. They received replies from six fire brigades in England which revealed the 37 deaths.

They also found a that a number of coroners have raised concerns following inquests into deaths that have been linked to the creams.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulator Agency is now asking manufacturers to add a fire warning to packaging of skin creams containing any paraffin. Previously the agency only asked for warnings on packaging of creams that contained more than 50% paraffin.

Michelle Victor, partner in law firm Leigh Day’s product liability and consumer law team, said: “It is crucial that any danger of fire associated to these creams is made clear to consumers to ensure that they are not put at risk.”

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