Sunday, May 31, 2009

mineral oil can be a little freaky.

be warned, I do mention mortality and children in the same sentence.

a while back I found an article on the net (which I helpfully can't find now, but will keep searching) describing a child having a fatal case of pneumonia after inhaling a well-known brand of baby oil (which is made from mineral oil). I wondered at the time if this was trash journalism at it's best, because it just seemed so far-fetched. but when I ran it past TDN(tm), she nodded and said it was entirely possible. so I thought I'd better look further.

there's lots of information regarding mineral oil as used to treat constipation, and there's a number of articles about resultant pneumonia, with the recommendation that it be used with caution. nothing easily found about children not actually recovering from it, though.

then I remembered Snopes, and if you've never taken a poke around there, well... you can lose hours, except it can get well freaky in there, so be careful. they're independant urban-myth busters, and I don't use them as much as Coz, but I like to run all those stupid chain-mail emails thorugh the Snopes wringer.

so, Snopes says it's true, and I believe them. their information suggests that these sorts of cases has led to child-resistant packaging in the US.

the main reason I actually found that information is because I've gone off mineral oil in recent years. I'm annoyed it's just a by-product of making petroleum. it's cheaper to make than to dispose of. is it a complete co-incidence that mineral oil became more widespread after WWII and the increasing number of cars driven? on one hand it's meant to be inert, and on the other hand, it's a by-product of distilling crude oil. what do we do with all this stuff? market it, that's what.

anyway, I've found after a bit of trial and error (and irritation) that I can use some soaps. most commercial soap is just detergent in solid form (and therefore irritating), whereas properly made and aged soap is so much more gentle. I stress *properly made and aged*, because there's a whole lot of bad soap making and selling out there on the net. I have a milk soap and liquid wash which is creamy and foamy and has a nice smell... god, what a change. the end result is approximately the same - still need help from topical steroids, but I think that's better than having to use petroleum by-products over the entire body.