Processed in oil refineries, crude oil is purified to produce fuel collectively termed as petroleum. But during refinery, only half of the crude oil content is refined into petroleum where a barrel of crude oil containing 42 gallons only produces 20 gallons of gasoline fuel. The remaining by-product becomes the base ingredients for over 6,000 based products which includes fertilizer, insecticides, linoleum and perfume to name a few.
Let us not go far and show you various petroleum based product that can be found in your house. From the moment you wake to take a shower the soap lather and shampoo that you use probably contains petroleum by-products. The same goes for the cosmetics that you use as well.
Clothing and Irritations
The clothing that you wear may contain synthetic fabrics which are durable and cheap. But these petroleum based garments can irritate your skin especially if you have Eczema. So you should give extra attention in choosing the right fabric like cotton in your underwear and T-shirts since you do not want contact with the sensitive areas skin of your body. These synthetic fabrics come in the form of nylon, spandex and polyester which are also commonly used in curtains, carpets and couches.
Ready to wear your favorite shoes?
Most of the shoes and other sporting goods have shifted from natural rubber to synthetic rubber which is cheaper and widely available. This synthetic rubber is the very same material used in the making of tires of your vehicle wherein 8 gallons of crude oil is needed to produce a single tire.
Take a look at your surroundings and please don’t tell me you haven’t seen plastics. Yes, the plastics in your water bottle, mobile phone and a lot of things are made from petrochemicals. Another popular distillate of petroleum is cleaning products like detergents and dishwasher. Although this can really clean your surroundings, it contains synthetic chemical substances that are lethal and the packaging of this products usually has the poison warning. That is why I am very choosy when it comes to picking detergents especially for my bed sheets, as many of the popular brands always irritate my sensitive skin.
As you can see many products are derived from petroleum and you could say that it makes our lives more convenient??
But wait, understand our body cannot metabolize petroleum and its derivatives. Let us take for example common cosmetic products that use the purest and most refined petroleum by-product. Though they come in small amounts, petroleum by-products are stored and accumulated in your body over time which doesn’t sound to good. One product that has been debated on its danger is that of mineral oil, in which I wrote an article on.
Petroleum based products have trace contaminants that are considered carcinogenic. Around a quarter of cosmetic products contain a concerning amount of “1,4-dioxane” (source pdf), an ingredient that has been researched and known to cause cancer.
Excessive application of petroleum based product has also been found out to disrupt the endocrine system function.
Can we get out of it?
From reading all of this and knowing the negative effects, why are these still being manufactured and sold in the market? There could be hundreds of answers but it all boils down to profit and output efficiency? These bi-products of petroleum has already earned its share in fuel making and is still making more profit by providing more base material.
Even the foods we eat are has traces of it (use of fertilizers and insecticides) and other agricultural inputs are loaded with this toxic by-product. But what is important is that you the CONSUMER needs to be educated for your specific health conditions.
My Concern – Sensitive Skin
For the general public, petroleum based products may be not so much a concern but it is big concern for individuals like me, who suffers from Eczema and have extremely sensitive skin. Because I know my body and do my research, I know which products and ingredients to avoid. It is also dependent on how much of that ingredient is in the product in order to have an negative effect on my skin. Sometimes a well known bad ingredient may be okay with my skin as long as it has very small traces of it in the product.
Going organic is the best way, but everyone knows the price is more expensive. That is why I sometimes make my own body butter lotion using organic products + essential oils (read more or signup for my recipe below) because it is cheaper to buy in bulk. The only downside is the upfront cost for bulk prices and you need to have the room to store the stuff in your fridge. But in the long run you are saving money!
Know Your Product!
You may not be aware but many products may suddenly change their ingredients without your knowledge. I have seen this first hand! Many years ago I enjoyed using a lotion for several years but notice once day my skin started to be very itchy and it continued for several weeks. This is happening while I was using that specific lotion and I couldn’t figure out why. I had a hunch for some reason and decided to read the ingredients of that lotion and notice that it had one ingredient that I was allergic to, which it never had before. So I stopped using it and my condition started to get better.
So in my opinion, the best defense against my Eczema condition is Education, by keeping close check on the ingredients in the products that I use, and keeping up with current health information.