Dangers lurking: mineral oil
Minearal oil, a petrolium byproduct, can be found in thousands of products from lipstic to diaper rash cream. But, did you know the dangers you expose yourself and family to when using products containing mineral oil?
Though hard to avoid, I have tried to ensure that my products, from skin care to hair, do not contain mineral oil. Now that I am a mom, I find it especially necessary to share this info with all the parents out there that may not be aware of just how dangers this ingredient can be for them and their babies.
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The American Society of Hospital Pharmacists studied mineral oil use by pregnant women who took it orally over a period of time and found that it caused hypoprothrombinemia and hemorrhagic disease, both of which cause spontaneous bleeding, in their newborn babies. The National Park Service Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia also noted that inhaling mineral oil by pregnant women caused testicular cancer in the fetus.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on a patient who had a mineral oil injection in his lungs, causing a rapid loss of vision, severe headache, convulsions and temporary coma immediately after the injection. After three weeks, the patient’s vision gradually returned to normal.
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists reported that several studies have confirmed that poorly refined mineral oil can induce skin and scrotal cancers after prolonged, repeated and heavy direct contact with the skin. The U.S. Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances classifies mineral oil as both carcinogenic and tumorigenic.
Because mineral oil is frequently used for constipation, many of its best-known side effects are related to the gastrointestinal tract. According to the “The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics,” chronic use of mineral can cause leakage of oil past the anal sphincter and lead to pruritus ani, or irritation of the skin outside the rectum that can cause severe itching. Mineral oil use may also interfere with healing of postoperative wounds in the anorectal region and disturb normal defecatory reflexes. In one case in which a patient used mineral oil to excess as a laxative, the results included chronic diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, thirst and weakness.
Many workers in the petroleum industry and other industrial occupations might be subjected to mineral oil mist in the air, a colorless, oily liquid mist generated from the use of various mineral oils. Acute exposure can result in upper respiratory tract irritations, and chronic exposure may cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or tachypnea, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The NPS Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia adds that mineral oil can produce lipid pneumonitis, whether the oil is inhaled, used topically on nasal mucous membranes, or taken orally, especially at bedtime. The oil gravitates to the lower lobes of the lungs where it leads to fibrosis and cyst formation, which can be fatal in some cases.
People who use mineral oil for more than two weeks may develop vitamin deficiencies, according to the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists 3.. The oil coats the mucosa of the small intestine and reduces the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Because levels of Vitamin K in the body affect the ability of blood thinners such as warfarin to do their job, taking mineral oil may cause the PT/INR levels in the blood to stray outside safe ranges.
Mineral oil is popular with manufacturers because it is inexpensive and makes skin smoother and softer to the touch and more attractive to the eye. Unfortunately, the damage that is being caused behind the scene makes it an undesirable ingredient in any skin care product.
Don’t be blinded by companies like Johnson & Johnson. Protect your babies and help me spread the word!
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