True Cellular Formulas Team - July 09, 2024

Petroleum in Your Home

A Health Threat?


Petroleum products have become so entrenched in our daily routines that we often overlook their presence in many household items. These petroleum-derived substances can significantly affect our health, from personal care products to everyday goods. Prolonged exposure to these products has been linked to numerous health concerns, including inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and cognitive issues such as brain fog.

For example, benzene, a component in aspirin, is a known carcinogen that can contribute to chronic inflammation and exacerbate autoimmune conditions. Similarly, synthetic fibers in our clothing and various plastic items release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can impair cognitive function, leading to headaches and brain fog. These exposures are particularly problematic for individuals with pre-existing health conditions or sensitivities, as the chemical additives in petroleum-based products can disrupt the endocrine system and lead to hormonal imbalances.

Understanding the hidden health impacts of these everyday products is crucial. Paraffin wax, commonly found in chewing gum and cosmetics, can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, triggering inflammatory responses. By being aware of these hidden hazards, we can make more informed decisions and choose non-toxic alternatives. Reducing our reliance on petroleum-derived products mitigates their potential harm and promotes a healthier living environment for ourselves and our families.

Here’s a closer look at ten everyday items that contain petroleum and how they can impact our health:

1. Aspirin

Aspirin contains benzene, widely used for treating pain, inflammation, and fevers. Benzene, derived from petroleum, is a known carcinogen that can have harmful effects with prolonged exposure. It can disrupt cellular function, leading to genetic mutations and an increased risk of cancer.[1] Additionally, benzene exposure has been linked to blood disorders such as anemia and can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections and diseases.

2. CDs and DVDs

Polycarbonate plastics, used in producing CDs and DVDs, are derived from petroleum. These durable plastics are designed to last, but when they degrade or are improperly disposed of, they can release harmful chemicals into the environment.[2] These chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), are known endocrine disruptors and can leach into soil and water, posing health risks to humans and wildlife. Prolonged exposure to BPA and similar compounds can lead to hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues, and increased susceptibility to certain cancers. Furthermore, the incineration of these plastics can release toxic fumes, contributing to air pollution and respiratory problems.

3. Chewing Gum

Petroleum wax, derived from crude oil refining, is often the base of chewing gum. While the FDA approves the use of this substance, it can contain impurities that may pose health risks. Paraffin wax, a common petroleum wax used in gum, is also found in food coatings and various household items.[3] When ingested in large quantities, paraffin wax can cause digestive issues such as stomach cramps, nausea, and intestinal blockage. Additionally, long-term exposure to the chemicals in petroleum wax might contribute to metabolic disturbances and potential endocrine disruption.

4. Clothing

Polyester, found in about 60% of clothing worldwide, is a synthetic fiber derived from petroleum. The production process involves several chemicals, including antimony, which can remain in the fabric and potentially cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Additionally, wearing polyester can lead to issues like contact dermatitis due to its non-breathable nature, which can trap sweat and bacteria against the skin. Over time, repeated exposure to these chemicals can contribute to more significant health concerns, such as respiratory issues and potential hormonal disruptions, especially when the garments are washed and microplastics are released into the environment.

5. Dentures

Modern dentures are made with acrylic resin, a hydrocarbon derived from petroleum. This material is chosen for its durability and ability to be easily molded to fit individual needs. However, some users might experience allergic reactions to the chemicals in acrylic resin, leading to discomfort, inflammation, and oral irritation.[4] In severe cases, these reactions can manifest as persistent sores or burning sensations in the mouth, complicating the wearer’s ability to eat and speak comfortably. Additionally, acrylic resin production involves various additives and plasticizers, which can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs), potentially contributing to respiratory issues and systemic toxicity over prolonged exposure.

6. Lipstick

Many lipsticks contain paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum refining. This wax is valued for its smooth application and long-lasting properties, but it can sometimes cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, particularly in individuals with sensitive skin.[5] The impurities in paraffin wax can exacerbate these reactions, leading to redness, swelling, and itching around the lips. Furthermore, the regular application of products containing petroleum byproducts may increase the risk of systemic absorption of these chemicals, potentially contributing to long-term health concerns such as endocrine disruption and increased sensitivity to other allergens.

7. Rugs

Synthetic fibers in rugs, such as nylon or olefin, are derived from petroleum. These materials are chosen for their durability and stain resistance, but they can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over time. This off-gassing can release harmful chemicals into the air, potentially leading to respiratory issues like asthma or bronchitis, especially in sensitive individuals. Additionally, VOCs can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions upon contact, leading to symptoms such as redness, itching, or rash.[6] Long-term exposure to these compounds can exacerbate health problems, highlighting the importance of ventilation and choosing rugs made from natural fibers.

8. Shampoo

Dry shampoos often use liquified petroleum gas (LPG) like propane or butane as a fuel, allowing the product to be easily sprayed onto the hair. However, these substances can cause some people scalp irritation or allergic reactions, leading to symptoms such as itching, redness, or even dermatitis.[7] Moreover, the plastic bottles used for dry and liquid shampoos are derived from petroleum. Over time, these plastic containers can leach harmful chemicals into the product, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). These chemicals can then be absorbed through the scalp, potentially leading to endocrine disruption and other long-term health concerns.

9. Toothpaste

Toothpaste often contains poloxamer 407, a petroleum derivative that helps dissolve oil-based ingredients in water, ensuring a smooth and effective product. While this ingredient is generally considered safe, some studies suggest that poloxamer 407 can cause gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Symptoms may include nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea, as well as oral irritation and swelling in more severe cases.[8] Additionally, continuous exposure to this petroleum-based compound can increase the risk of developing hypersensitivity, leading to long-term health issues related to immune system responses and inflammation.

10. Crayons

Crayons are typically made from paraffin wax, derived from petroleum. This wax is chosen for its smooth texture and ease of coloring, making it a favorite for children's art supplies. While crayons are considered safe for use, ingestion can cause digestive discomfort, including symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, and constipation. Additionally, the inhalation of crayon dust, particularly during extensive use, may lead to respiratory issues such as coughing, throat irritation, and, in some cases, worsening of asthma symptoms.[9] Understanding the hidden presence of petroleum in these products highlights the importance of making informed choices. By being aware of what we bring into our homes, we can better protect our health and well-being.

Final Thoughts

Petroleum-derived products provide convenience and functionality in our everyday lives. However, the hidden health risks associated with prolonged exposure to these substances should not be ignored. The potential hazards range from inflammation and allergic reactions to respiratory issues and long-term systemic effects.

Educating ourselves about these hidden dangers allows us to make more informed choices and seek out non-toxic alternatives. Whether opting for natural fibers in clothing, choosing eco-friendly personal care products, or being mindful of the materials in household items, each small change can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Embracing these alternatives protects our health and promotes a more conscious and sustainable way of living.

  1. PUBLIC HEALTH STATEMENT.” Toxicological Profile for Benzene, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (US), 2007.,
  2. Thompson, Richard C., et al. “Plastics, the Environment and Human Health: Current Consensus and Future Trends.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 364, no. 1526, July 2009, pp. 2153–66. PubMed Central,
  3. Lambré, Claude, et al. “Safety Assessment of ‘Waxes, Paraffinic, Refined, Derived from Petroleum‐based or Synthetic Hydrocarbon Feedstock, Low Viscosity’ for Use in Food Contact Materials.” EFSA Journal, vol. 21, no. 2, Feb. 2023, p. e07761. PubMed Central,
  4. Alqutaibi, Ahmed Yaseen, et al. “Polymeric Denture Base Materials: A Review.” Polymers, vol. 15, no. 15, July 2023, p. 3258. PubMed Central,
  5. Goyal, Nishu, and Frankline Jerold. “Biocosmetics: Technological Advances and Future Outlook.” Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, vol. 30, no. 10, 2023, pp. 25148–69. PubMed Central,
  6. Ogbodo, John Onyebuchi, et al. “Volatile Organic Compounds: A Proinflammatory Activator in Autoimmune Diseases.” Frontiers in Immunology, vol. 13, July 2022, p. 928379. PubMed Central,
  7. D’Souza, Paschal, and Sanjay K. Rathi. “Shampoo and Conditioners: What a Dermatologist Should Know?” Indian Journal of Dermatology, vol. 60, no. 3, 2015, pp. 248–54. PubMed Central,
  8. Chen, Yabing, et al. “An Overview on Thermosensitive Oral Gel Based on Poloxamer 407.” Materials, vol. 14, no. 16, Aug. 2021, p. 4522. PubMed Central,
  9. H. BRIEGER, M.D.Poisoning Due to Ingestion of Wax. Department of Preventive Medicine, Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. Crayons

Related Posts