MINERAL OIL & MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS TO
ANIMAL & ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Michael W. Fox BVetMed, PhD, DSc, MRCVS
So called USP
Grade mineral oil/petroleum jelly (old name liquid paraffin) is sold in
pharmacies across the U.S. It is a petroleum-derived product liberally applied
to babies, in many sun-screens and often used over the entire body after
showering in the belief that this is good for the human skin. From a chemical
point of view, mineral oil/petroleum jelly is a “purified” mixture of
long-chained saturated hydrocarbons (also known as alkanes or paraffin), solids
and liquids of general formula (CnH2n+2) obtained from refining petrol,
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) being of growing public health concern
(1). Questions are being raised about the potential adverse consequences of
using mineral oil on our skin (2). The USP
petroleum jelly does not pass the test of the European Pharmacopoeia and yet it
complies with the American Pharmacopoeia norms according to one French
cosmetics company (3).
Mineral oil is
marketed in different grades. The least “purified/refined” is “technical” grade
used to lubricate engines and equipment. The World Health Organization (WHO)
has found that this unpurified form contains contaminants that have been linked
in studies to an increased risk of cancer. A 2011 report by the National Toxicology Program stated, “Untreated and
mildly treated mineral oils are known to be human carcinogens based
on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans.” (4).
Cosmetics use a more purified “cosmetic grade” mineral oil. Studies have not linked
this oil with cancer, But in a 20110 study researchers stated, “There is strong
evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the
human body, amounting to approximately 1 gram per person. Possible routes of
contamination include air inhalation, food intake, and dermal [skin]
Oil, widely marketed, has posted this advertisement: Johnson's® Baby Oil |
5-Step Safety Process Adwww.johnsonsbaby.com/
Locks In More
Moisture, And Helps Relieve Baby's Dry Skin. Fewer Ingredients. Easy-To-Use
Pumps. No Dyes. No Sulfates. 50% Fewer Ingredients. No Phthalates. Simple &
Gentle Formulas. No Parabens. Types: Baby Lotion, Baby Wash,
Baby Oil, Baby Creamy Oil, Baby Hand & Face Wipes
have anti-microbial properties, and phthalates, which make plastics pliable,
are in many plastic materials used to hold food and beverages and are now
polluting aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems as well as our own bodies. As
known endocrine disruptors and possible carcinogens they are one of the
regrettable legacies of the “age of chemistry”.
In the poultry
industry, plain mineral oil can also be swabbed onto the feet of chickens
infected with scaly mites on the shank, toes, and webs. Mineral oil suffocates
these tiny parasites. In humans it may block sebaceous glands and cause acne.
The common practice of using mineral oil or petroleum jelly
( Vaseline) on wounds in
humans may actually interfere with normal wound healing processes and increase
the possibility of infection (6)
After a friend
told me she has showered every day and then anointed herself all over with
mineral oil “as long as she can remember” and in mid-life developed multiple
sclerosis, I thought that there may be a connection between her long-term daily
absorption of PAHs from the mineral oil and her neurological disease. With the
best intentions my daughter Mara’s mother coated her with vitamin D-depriving
sunscreen every time she went out and she was an outdoor girl, swimming and
her mid- twenties she developed MS. But
this was soon after her immune system was bombarded with vaccinations for her
3-Peaks in 3-Weeks mountain climbing experience in East Africa. And that means
addressing, before the genetic and pharmaceutical treatment thereof, the most
probable environmental sources. Inorganic adjuvants are contained within
vaccines, including aluminum and mercury. The presence of other metallic
nanoparticles is likely the result of polluted components or processes used in
the creation of the vaccines according to the researchers. (7) They found
metallic particles of aluminum, silicon, magnesium, titanium, iron, chromium,
calcium, lead, tungsten, stainless steel, nickel, gold, silver, zirconium,
hafnium, strontium, platinum and bismuth in vaccines manufactured in Europe.
These controversial findings concluded with the opinion that these
“investigations revealed that some particles are embedded in a biological
substrate, probably proteins, endo-toxins and residues of bacteria. As soon as
a particle comes in contact with proteic fluids, a nano-bio-interaction occurs
and a "protein corona" is formed. The nano-bio-interaction generates
a bigger-sized compound that is not biodegradable and can induce adverse
effects, since it is not recognized as self by the body”.
injected directly into tissue these
particles become even more dangerous because they bypass normal digestive and
respiratory filters, trapping the particles in the tissue and sometimes
resulting in a permanent inflammatory effect.
nanoparticles have even been
developed by other scientists exploring their use as plastic antibodies to
seize dangerous materials in the body. (8). Many new vaccines and cancer and
other drug-delivery treatments are also being developed using constructed
veterinarian I am familiar with demyelinating diseases like canine distemper
and suspect that lipophilic---fat seeking—and hydrophobic---water-repelling
petrochemicals in mineral oil may damage the insulating fatty myelin sheath
over the nerves, a process called demyelinization. I checked with one of
several manufacturers of USP Grade mineral oil in the U.S. and found that it
was tested for PAHs and sulfur compounds. (9). I wonder what other
petrochemicals were not identified or known in this complex petrochemical
“mineral oil”. Regardless of how much or little of these derivative chemicals
are present at all, they are permitted at levels of toxicity tolerance
determined by industrial toxicologists, law and policy makers and American
standards of purity are lower than those in Europe. Is there any consideration
of bioaccumulation as the human body
absorbs these hydrocarbons and fat solvents?
Many PAHs have
toxic, mutagenic and/or carcinogenic properties (10). PAHs are highly lipid
soluble and thus readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract of mammals.
They are rapidly distributed in a wide variety of tissues with a marked
tendency for localization in body fat. Metabolism of PAHs occurs via the
cytochrome P450-mediated mixed function oxidase system with oxidation or
hydroxylation as the first step. The oxidative impact on cells may cause a
pathological opening of the permeability transition pore and cause
mitochondrial dysfunction which may lead to MS that may not be simply an
autoimmune disease. (11).
hypothesis that there will be a significant decline in the incidence and
severity of multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases and
neuromas when governments limit the consumer use of mineral oil and advise
strongly against frequent cutaneous application should be put to the test. Like
some other demyelinating neuropathies,
multiple sclerosis is a multifactor, pluricausal disease for which there is no
solution beyond applying the precautionary principle of best prevention first.
For instance, individuals exposed to paint, varnish, and other solvents are 50%
more likely to develop multiple sclerosis. Individuals who carry genes making
them more susceptible to multiple sclerosis that have been exposed are 7 times
more likely to develop MS, if those same individuals have been smokers the risk
is 30 times higher. (12). Public health
and consumer and environmental protection go hand in hand but are too often
divided by vested interests and conflicting values and opinions.
several other research reports (notably refs 13-17) on petrochemical products
from a host of items from plastic water bottles, grocery bags and styrofoam
cups and packing materials to disposable pens and lighters it is evident that
they are pervasive and a top environmental and public health issue. Polystyrene
plastic cups break down into small particles that become a magnet for toxic
chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in PAH polluted sea and fresh
water. Plastics disintegrate into microparticles, now present in many drinking
water sources, and in to nanoparticles that can pass though the gut wall and
possibly cross the blood-brain barrier. The two components in plastics that
experts are most concerned about are phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA), which are often referred to
as endocrine disruptors because of their ability to affect estrogen and
testosterone levels in humans. They also appear to have the potential to impact
the development of the brain and reproductive organs in developing fetuses. Used to produce polycarbonate plastics
and epoxy resins, BPA is found in many drinking containers, the lining of most
food and beverage cans (including soda cans), bottle caps, plastic cutlery,
plastic food storage containers, toys, dental sealants, some dental composites,
water pipes, eyeglass lenses, and more.
The source of
many anthropogenic diseases from obesity and dysbiosis to multiple sclerosis
and cancer, may well come from these kinds of petroleum products along with
micro- and nanoparticles in the air we breathe from multiple sources including
coal-fired power plants, gasoline-driven vehicle exhaust and from
plastic-containing garbage incineration. To these we should add indoor
microfiber particle “dust” from synthetic carpet and upholstery materials
(generally treated with endocrine-disrupting flame -retardant chemicals because
they are highly inflammable), which also contaminate the environment via the
laundry wastewater from synthetic clothing materials. Run-off from roofing and
road and parking lot materials can be added to the “dirty laundry” facing many
communities. Plastic sheeting used over soils in gardening, landscaping and
food crop production to control weeds poses a leaching problem calling for
environmental and food safety determinations. Plastic-derived and other
nanoparticles in the air, rain and irrigation water contaminate our food crops,
sea foods and livestock feed and thus enter the food chain and much of the food
CONTRIBUTE TO CLIMATE CHANGE
In a 2018
report, The Future of Petrochemicals from the International Energy Agency ( https://www.iea.org/petrochemicals/) the plastics manufacturing industry is
seen as becoming the biggest user of fossil fuels and some 100 million metric
tons now pollute the oceans. Without curtailing such pollution and with rising
demand for plastics, life on Earth will be compromised since over half of
atmospheric oxygen is generated by marine plankton currently at risk from these
and other petrochemicals in their environment.
of the aquatic food chain along with coral reefs are also at risk from sea
water acidification due to high levels of carbon dioxide produced mainly from
the burning of fossil fuels. Forest fires associated with habitat and climate
change add to the problem of rising carbon dioxide and lower oxygen levels.
Phytoplankton are decimated by agrichemical-runoff, herbicides in particular,
and also by microplastics. (see
Low oxygen levels in major cities have
recently been reported. Climate
change*, one aspect of a looming global eco-crisis, includes changes in
atmospheric gases that support life and shield from harmful solar rays. The
Guardian newspaper reported (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/aug/13/carbonemissions.climatechange):
the oxygen content of the Earth's atmosphere dips to 19% over
impacted areas, and it is down to 12 to 17% over the major cities. At these
levels it is difficult for people to get sufficient oxygen to maintain bodily
health: it takes a proper intake of oxygen to keep body cells and organs, and
the entire immune system, functioning at full efficiency. At the levels we have
reached today cancers and other degenerative diseases are likely to develop.
And at 6 to 7% life can no longer be sustained."
mammals and other ocean-dependent wildlife are washing up on our
shores showing signs of extreme malnourishment as well as toxic pollution.
Their condition, along with weakened immune systems and reduced fertility may
be primarily due to microplastics contaminating and killing off zooplankton,
the foundation of their food chain.
For a scientific consensus in rising global temperature see Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change,
8 October 2018 Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global
Warming of 1.5ºC approved by governments).
plastics emit greenhouse gases such as methane and ethylene as
they degrade in the environment. Sunlight triggers the breakdown of plastic,
but once the process starts, greenhouse gas emissions continue in the dark. All
of the polymers tested give off methane, one of the most potent greenhouse
gases, and ethylene, which contributes to carbon monoxide formation in the
atmosphere. Low-density polyethylene, the most commonly used form of plastic
worldwide (it’s used in plastic grocery bags), is the highest emitter of both gases. Microplastics
in the ocean may be, ounce for ounce, the worst form of plastic where
greenhouse gas emissions are concerned. (18)
these various petrochemical products represent one of the most harmful
contributions of the chemical industry to health and life because the issues of
containment and safe disposal have never been considered. Such consideration is
most urgent the planet’s detoxification and our recovery from the Industrial
Age of Chemistry with its adverse impacts on environmental and public health.
The growing recognition of such anthropogenic factors in the genesis of
“diseases of civilization” and ecological and physiological dysbiosis has
spawned the One Health concept and movement in medical and veterinary practice,
teaching and research (19). We must quickly create and expand alternative
products based on eco-friendly biochemical processes such as contained
bio-fermentation and biosynthesis, bio-remediation, sustainable biofuels and
other alternative energy sources and natural clothing and other materials
derived from cotton, hemp etc. that are recyclable and biodegrade into
non-toxic components. Efforts local and international to recover plastic
materials from all contaminated terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (20) need to
be initiated for the common good. This monumental task calls for a United
Environmental Nations Organization that bases free and fair trade and commerce
on ecological principles of sustainability and environmental and public health.
** Email IPAN@erols.com Website www.drfoxvet.net
POSTSCRIPT FOR PET OWNERS
Large pieces of
plastic in manufactured pet foods occur on occasion and have resulted in
nation-wide pet food recalls. But microparticles of plastic may be in many pet
foods because the plastic wrappings and packaging around discarded meat and
poultry products no longer fresh enough for human consumption are recycled,
rendered and subsequently included in pet foods and also livestock and poultry
feed. Plastics have even been fed to cattle as a substitute for fiber to
ostensibly improve digestion.
with human foods and beverages in plastic
containers, leaching from the plastic pet food bags and liners call for
immediate pet food industry attention. (For details see Which Plastics Are Safe? | Care2 Healthy
21, 2012 www.truthaboutpetfood.com posted that plastics may be applied
directly on to pet foods as a preservative since Hill’s Pet
Nutrition has been provided with a patent for “a composition
comprising a physically discrete pet food oral intake composition with a
physically stable film…”This patent…invention is “a
method for increasing the shelf life…or protects the composition
from bacterial growth…” “For example these include a dry pet food
comprising kibbles, bits, any other discrete materials, solid treat,
supplements and the like, and even “chunks” in a chunk and gravy wet diet
assuming the film can be properly applied to the chunk in the food processing
and remain stable in the liquid environment of the container.---- The chemical
used in coating the pet food is
a polymer which should be physically stable during the process of its
application and also stable during its lifetime on the pet food composition
surface while being subjected to any further processing steps. Examples
of these polymers include zein, casein, starch(es), cellulose(s), gum(s), gelatin,
starch/synthetic polymer(s), e.g starch/low density polyethylene, and
the like..” ( My emphasis on polyethylene added! For details see US20050147651A1 - Coated
composition - Google Patents https://www.google.com/patents/US20050147651).
A UBIQUITOUS ANTIBACTERIAL HEALTH THREAT
(TCS) is a high-volume chemical used as an
antimicrobial ingredient in more than 2000 consumer products, such as
toothpaste, cosmetics, kitchenware, children’s and dogs’ toys, beds and
shampoos. It is also incorporated into plastic pet food bag liners and in
plastic meat and poultry wrapping which can finish up in pet foods. Scientists
recently reported that brief exposure to TCS, at relatively low doses, causes
low-grade colonic inflammation, increases colitis, and exacerbates
colitis-associated colon cancer in mice. ( H. Yang el al., "A common
antimicrobial additive increases colonic inflammation and colitis-associated
colon tumorigenesis in mice," Science Translational
Medicine 30 May 2018: Vol. 10, Issue 443, eaan4116 DOI:
research findings add yet another concern to what may cause
dysbiosis and inflammatory bowel disease in dogs and cats as well as humans. It
is an accountability call to pet food manufacturers to stipulate to their
ingredient-providers that all plastic wrappings on discarded meat and poultry
parts are removed before processing, plastic liners of dry pet foods and
wrapping of frozen pet foods are TCS-free. Chronic exposure and ingestion of
TCS may also contribute to skin and thyroid problems and food allergies.
more background information on this antibiotic see Pat Thomas, The Dawn of the domestic
superbug - The Ecologist https://theecologist.org/2005/jul/01/dawn-domestic-superbug and
Triclosan - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triclosan).
COMPANION ANIMAL CONCERNS
in the lining of canned pet foods to stop rusting has been
linked with thyroid disease in companion animals, along with the chemical flame
retardants in the carpets, sofas and dust of their home environments, toxic
flame retardants being called for because these synthetic petrochemical
materials are highly flammable.
2. 3 Key Reasons to Avoid Mineral Oil - Be
Well by Dr. Frank Lipman
The purity that makes the difference -
requirement level of the French Codex. Pharmacopoeia ...
Unlike vegetal and mineral oils, petroleum jelly retains its
moisturising capacity ...... tolerance. The French Codex
Pharmacopoeia is considerably more demanding than the others in relation to the
following purities: - the test for PAH(Polycyclic Aromatic.
Toxicology Program, “Mineral Oils:
Untreated and Mildly Treated,” Report
on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition (2011), Washington DC , Department of
Health and Human Services.
5. Concin N, et al., “Evidence for cosmetics as a source of
mineral oil contamination in women,” J
Womens Health Nov; 20(11):1713-9.
6. Fraser L Macrae
et al (2018) A fibrin biofilm covers the blood clot and protects from microbial
invasion. The Journal of Cinical
Investigation https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324932660 .
(See also interface using mineral oil or petroleum jelly also
prevented film formation (Supplemental ...... Y.P., Hook, M., David, T.,
Coughlin, S.R., et al. 2015.).
7. Gatti AM,
Montanari S (2016) New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro- and
Nanocontamination. Int J Vaccines Vaccin
4(1): 00072. DOI: 10.15406/ijvv.2017.04.00072
Lauren M Graham, Thao M Nguyen, and Sang Bok Lee. Nanodetoxification: emerging role of
nanomaterials in drug intoxication treatment
2011 Jul; 6(5): 921–928.doi: 10.2217/nnm.11.75
The Molecular Perspective: Polycyclic
Aromatic ... - The Oncologist
by DS Goodsell - 2004 - Cited by 8 - Related articles
Perspective: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. David S. Goodsell.
Ph.D., Associate Professor, The Scripps Research Institute, ... TheOncologist.com.
Smoking is an unlikely method for delivery of small molecules. After all, it
burns up most of your material. However, smoking is prevalent ...
10. Mitochondrial dysfunction and
neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis
K Su - 2013 - Cited by 40 - Related articles
Many avenues of
research indicate that a neurodegenerative process may also
play a significant role in MS from the early stages of disease,
and one of the ... Another unique class of mitochondria-targeting compounds includes
the Szeto-Schiller (SS) peptides, which have an aromatic-cationic
motif that allows them to be ...
H. I. Zeliger Exposure to lipophilic chemicals as a
cause of neurological ...
lipophiles can also be intermediate-lived species, including polynuclear aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs), bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which can ...
NIs associated with lipophilic chemical exposure include central nervous
system disorders (cognitive, motor and sensory), as well as
12, Anna Karin
Hedström, Ola Hössjer, Michail Katsoulis, Ingrid Kockum, Tomas Olsson, Lars
Alfredsson. Organic solvents and MS
susceptibility Interaction with MS risk HLA genes. Neurology,
2018 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005906
13. Polystyrene Plastic: A Source and Sink
for Polycyclic Aromatic ...
Feb 27, 2018
- Download citation | Polystyrene Plastic:... | Polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on virgin polystyrene (PS)
and PS marine debris led us to examine PS as a source and sink for PAHs
in the marine environment. At two locations in San Diego Bay, we measured
sorption of PAHs to PS pellets, sampl..
14. Plastic pollution
doesn't just hurt marine species. It's also harmful to people.
As plastic debris floats in the seawater, it absorbs dangerous
pollutants like PCBs, DDT and PAH. These chemicals are highly toxic and have a
wide range of chronic effects, including endocrine disruption and
Ocean Plastics Pollution - Center for
15. Deborah S.
Jacobs et al. Surface degradation and nanoparticle release of a commercial
nanosilica/polyurethane coating under UV exposure, Journal of Coatings
Technology and Research (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s11998-016-9796-2
16. Brain damage and behavioural disorders in
fish induced by plastic ...
by K Mattsson
- Sep 13, 2017 - Once in the
aquatic environment, plastic material breaks up into smaller
pieces through the action of sunlight, waves, living organisms in the
water and by the water itself, Eventually plastic material is
broken down to nanoparticles–, which may be an even more potent threat
since plastic nanoparticles are able to pass
through biological barriers, penetrate tissues and ..
17. Microplastics and nanoplastics in food – an emerging
https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/160623 Jun 23, 2016 - EFSA has taken a
first step towards a future assessment of the potential risks to consumers
from microplastics and nanoplastics in food,
especially seafood. ... Dr Peter Hollman was a member of the working group
that helped EFSA’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain
(CONTAM) to ...
18. Royer S.-J. et al. “Production of methane and ethylene from
plastic in the environment.” PLoS ONE. 2018.
19 Fox, M.W. Healing Animals & the Vision of One
Health. Create Space
20. To the
widely publicized discovery of a mass of ocean plastic twice the size of the
state of Texas we must add data indicating the equivalent of more than four
Mount Everests worth of terrestrial trash: SeeRoland Geyer, Jenna R. Jambeck and
Kara Lavender Law,
Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made Science
Advances 19 Jul 2017: Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700782 DOI:
Abstract: Plastics have outgrown most man-made materials
and have long been under environmental scrutiny. However, robust global
information, particularly about their end-of-life fate, is lacking. By
identifying and synthesizing dispersed data on production, use, and end-of-life
management of polymer resins, synthetic fibers, and additives, we present the
first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured. We
estimate that 8300 million metric tons (Mt) as of virgin plastics have been
produced to date. As of 2015, approximately 6300 Mt of plastic waste had been
generated, around 9% of which had been recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79%
was accumulated in landfills or the natural environment. If current production
and waste management trends continue, roughly 12,000 Mt of plastic waste will
be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050.
made from shellfish and plants is completely compostable
spraying alternating layers of the chitin and cellulose infused
solution, researchers found they could make the layers fuse to one another and
form one single, resilient film. Source: Satam, et. al. “Spray-Coated
Multilayer Cellulose Nanocrystal—Chitin Nanofiber Films for Barrier
Applications.” ACS Chemistry & Engineering.