Reminder: advising patients on fire risk of paraffin-based emollients

Reminder: advising patients on fire risk of paraffin-based emollients

February 12, 2018

Pharmacy teams may have seen news coverage over the weekend, prompted by a BBC investigation which has highlighted the fire risk posed by paraffin-based skin emollients. This has been followed by a BBC news story published today, ahead of regional television coverage of the issue this evening on BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The BBC investigation found that most of the affected emollients do not currently carry warnings despite the known risk.

The BBC coverage highlighted that:

  • clothes and bedding soaked in emollients containing paraffin can easily catch fire; and
  • between 2010 and March 2017 there were 37 deaths in fires linked to paraffin-based emollients.

Pharmacy teams are reminded that the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency issued a reminder in April 2016 about the need to appropriately advise patients who are being treated with paraffin-based skin products.

There is also an NHS poster available which may be useful to display in pharmacies.

For more information on advice and guidance relating to patient safety which have previously been highlighted as news stories on the PSNC website, please visit the patient safety information page.

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