I discover Vaseline and related petroleum merchandise, together with many sold for use in eczema, make for good, low-cost moisturisers. But are these products environmentally sound? If I assumed utilizing them was contributing to extreme use of oil reserves I would try to search out alternatives. What do you think?
Jane Inexperienced on electronic mail
Thanks to the fantastic powers bestowed upon us by the mighty web we will readily read the original patent utility for Vaseline filed on the United States Patent Office by its inventor Robert Chesebrough in 1872. In the doc, Chesebrough describes for himself how he derived his self-titled “Vaseline”:
The substance from which Vaseline is made is the residium of petroleum left within the nonetheless after the greater part of the petroleum has been distilled off Vaseline is the product of the filtration of the stated residiums by bone-black [bone char], and varies in colour because it comes from the filter.
Chesebrough goes on to say that Vaseline is “particularly useful” for “oiling all kinds of leather-based”, it is an effective lubricator, and that the best grade of Vaseline can be utilized as a “pomade for the hair”. He adds that it’s an “excellent substance for glycerine-cream for chapped hands, and so on”. Over a century later not a lot has changed, with petroleum jelly – first known to riggers in its black, unrefined state as “rod wax” – still as in style as the days when Chesebrough was said to have touted his marvel cure across the US by burning his own skin with acid and then rubbing on Vaseline to show to onlookers simply how efficient it could possibly be as a healant.
As a minor by-product of the oil industry, I feel there’s little, if any, want to worry about world Vaseline use plunging us quicker in direction of the commonly predicted “oil crunch”. It is simply one of actually thousands of merchandise which are derived from the refining of crude oil. Our homes would look fairly sparse if had been to rid ourselves of the plastics, detergents, cosmetics and so on that rely so heavily on petrochemicals and other refinery by-merchandise for his or her manufacture. That is to not say such a dependence is a smart factor – it most probably isn’t if the predicted crunchy peak occurs to our oil provides. But I believe, as do a lot of the commentators beneath, that worrying concerning the overuse of Vaseline, now owned by Unilever, could be very low down our the record of concerns.
However I sense from your query, Jane, that you are equally, if no more, involved concerning the well being implications of applying petroleum jelly to your pores and skin. There is, after all, a fast rising nook of the cosmetics market that meets the calls for of those who seek merchandise free from any petrochemicals. Elements akin to propylene glycol, acetone and the varied parabens are being more and more shunned by consumers fearing they is likely to be triggers for a wide range of problems, including eczema. Some even concern they may be carcinogens. Manufacturers now go out of their method to stress that their merchandise are safe to use and all must meet strict regulatory requirements, however the doubts amongst some shoppers nonetheless persist. The precautionary principle is now being commonly applied in the case of rubbing a product on one’s pores and skin. We know that our epidermis absorbs these products and that they can end up coming into our blood stream, so why, some say, take the risk?
“Sabelmouse”, for example, states that she (I’m, maybe foolishly, assuming she is a she) would slightly have “vegetable oils on my skin ie almond and different seeds and cocoabutter and such”. “Jacqual” seems to agree.
“Iamtheurbanspaceman”, sensible as ever, factors out that we should all be way more concerned about using palm oil in our on a regular basis merchandise. I can’t disagree actually, however then again, if there is a selection, I do instinctively are usually way more involved in regards to the wider environmental influence of a product, and its manufacture, than what it may be doing to my own personal well being.
On the difficulty of coal tar cleaning soap, I used to be intrigued to see “Englishmancastle’s” observe about coal tar cleaning soap now being banned by the EU. I had heard this, too, but it surely appears to be like as if coal tar has solely been banned when utilized in its purest type, such as coating the hulls of boats, and in non-prescription products, such because the well-known Wright’s Coal Tar cleaning soap, which is now referred to as Wright’s Traditional Soap and is “coal tar fragranced”. Coal tar shampoos do appear to nonetheless be out there, although, to those suffering from conditions corresponding to dandruff.
I am sorry, “Bluesauce”. I, too, regarded for some coal-tar inspired lyrics, Horizontal Rotation Cracking Furnace however failed. The very best I can offer you is a Japanese indie band from the nineties called Coaltar and the Deepers. You remember their 1994 debut album The Guests From Deepspace, do not you? Don’t you?
On 8 February Leo initially wrote:
Jane, thanks for the query. I need to say that I’m a little involved about how a lot of those products you apply to your self that leads you to surprise whether or not you is perhaps serving to to deplete the world’s oil reserves.
But I take your wider level, and will return at the tip of the week to look into the environmental deserves, or in any other case, of petroleum-primarily based cosmetic merchandise. Readers’ views are, as ever, most welcome. Possibly we could increase it out to include coal-tar soap? I still love the childhood-evoking scent of that stuff, but what exactly is it?
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