Paraffin residue builds up on clothes and bedding from skin creams. Paraffin residue seeps mattresses as well. Paraffin acts as an accelerant when it comes into contact with fire.
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.” – Chris Bell, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
An investigation by BBC 5 Live found that only seven out of 38 products that have paraffin contained fire warnings on their packaging in the UK. We did not find warnings on packages in the U.S. In England in March 2017 a BBC investigation discovered 37 deaths linked to skin creams with paraffin. Firefighter Chris Bell beleives the actual number of deaths linked to the creams is likely to be much higher.
“I seem to have set myself on fire”
BBC tells the story of Brian Bicat, 82, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who died last September after setting himself on fire. The belief is that cigarette embers sparked paraffin residue on his clothing from the residual build-up of his skin cream, and set his clothes on fire.
Kirsten said her father’s wife Kathleen returned from a walk to find Brian conscious but seriously injured.
The flat was full of smoke and there was a pile of smouldering clothes on the floor outside the bathroom burning a hole in the carpet. My dad was sat on the bed with no clothes on, and covered in water and hair singed, looking sort of dazed and he said ‘I seem to have set myself on fire’.” – Kristen
Brian Bicat, 82, died last September from the severe burns.
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It’s recommended that you wash clothes regularly and shower daily if using skin creams.
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