THE FAMILY of a great-grandmother who died in a house fire fuelled by the emollient cream she used to treat a skin condition has welcomed calls for fire hazard warnings on packaging.
Smoker Pauline Taylor, 74, died in a blaze believed to have been caused by a match she dropped on her bedding at her home in the Primrose Hill area of Huddersfield in May 2015.
Dried paraffin-based emollients - which Mrs Taylor used to treat her her psoriasis - were on the bedding and caused the fire to intensify.
West Yorkshire Fire Service said she was the third person to die in the county since 2015 in fires where paraffin based emollients are believed to have accelerated the speed and intensity of the fire
On Wednesday (Dec 18), The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced recommendations that labelling and product information for these emollient products include a warning about the fire hazard.
West Yorkshire Fire Service said the products should contain clear advice not to smoke or go near naked flames and information about the risk of severe burn injury or death when clothing, bedding and dressings with emollients dried on them are accidentally ignited.
Pauline Taylor's daughter Deborah Farmer said: “We, as a family, welcome the news from the MHRA regarding changes to labelling and packaging of paraffin-based emollients.
“Since the tragic death of our mother in 2015 my sister and I have been working closely with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service highlighting and raising awareness of the increased
risk of flammability of clothing and bedding soaked in the products.
“It is essential that all patients and relatives have clear and concise information warning them of the potential risk of fabric flammability when exposed to smoking materials and naked flames.”
Watch Commander Chris Bell said: “We are really pleased to see this recommendation put forward.
"We realise that paraffin-based emollients can be hugely beneficial to people who use them to treat skin conditions but users and their carers do need to be aware of the potential fire risks
if fabrics have been in contact with an emollient or emollient treated skin and an ignition source is introduced."
“It is particularly important if you are a smoker who uses emollients.
“Ensuring that these products carry warnings will help us as we continue to work with other fire services, pharmacists, the NHS and care sector to prevent any future deaths.”
Deborah Farmer added: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have worked tirelessly over the last few years campaigning to see changes in how these products have been labelled and also providing education to healthcare professionals and pharmacists regarding emollients.”