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On October 26, 2018, The New Zealand Ministry of Health has proposed to establish warning statements regarding a fire hazard on the labels of paraffin-based skin products. Paraffin-based skin products and emollients such as emulsifying wax, liquid paraffin and white soft paraffin are considered of great risk to ignite when in contact with a naked flame. The risk is greater when these preparations are applied to large areas of the body, and clothing or dressings become soaked with the ointment. Patients must be told to keep away from fire or flames, and not to smoke when using these preparations.

In general, the risk of fire should be considered when using large quantities of any paraffin-based emollient.

Hence, two options are proposed for the warning statement for dermal use in products containing 50 percent or more of paraffin:

  • Option 1- Caution: if this product comes into contact with dressings and clothing, the fabric can be more easily ignited with a naked flame. You should keep away from fire when using this product.
  • Option 2- Caution: this product may make dressings and clothing more easily ignited with a naked flame.

Public consultation is open until December 7, 2018.