Mineral Oils and Petroleum (petrolatum, petroleum jelly)

Mineral Oils and Petroleum (petrolatum, petroleum jelly)

Mineral Oils and Petroleum

This is number four in a series of eight outlining ingredients commonly included in so-called healthy bath products that should be avoided and that are nowhere to be found in The Bath Shoppe line of products.

What is it? Petrolatum, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, paraffin oil: derived from petroleum (by-product of petroleum refining) it is often used in personal care products as a moisturizing agent. Its melting point is close to body temperature so it softens on contact and forms a water -repellant film around the applied area, creating an effective barrier against evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture and foreign particles or microorganisms that may cause infection. It is odorless, colorless and has a very long shelf life…that is what makes it popular!

Why should it be avoided? When properly refined, petrolatum has no known health concerns. However, the US sets no requirements on refinement and PAH content in the petrolatum used in personal care products. PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are by-products of organic material combustion commonly stored in fats. PAH content is minimal to none with proper refinement, but without knowing the refinement history or PAH levels, there is cause for concern. The main health concern is cancer. There are many forms of PAH that range from probable or possible to known carcinogen. PAH exposure is linked to cancer development.

How to avoid? Avoid products with petrolatum unless the company clearly indicates the petrolatum is fully refined as white petrolatum (on their label or company website) which is considered safe.

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