A grandmother who started suffering from dementia after setting herself on fire shortly after applying a flammable skin cream.
Yvonne Webb, 83, had used emollient cream before trying to light a candle and light herself in her home in north London.
Softening creams often contain flammable chemicals to treat dry and itchy skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
After trying to light a candle near her gas stove, she ran onto the burning street.
Yvonne Webb, who had started suffering from dementia, tried to light and light a candle after applying a softening cream in her home in north London
The neighbors ran out to help her, but she died after being hospitalized and treated.
Her grieving son Ben Webb said: “We are not sure what exactly happened, but she fled to the street where she was looked after by neighbors.
I was at home with my son when I was called to her home.
"When we arrived it was clear that it was very serious and she was sitting in an ambulance.
I went to the hospital with her.
"I'm glad I did because it was the last time I spoke to her."
“Unfortunately, my mother started suffering from dementia and certainly had no understanding of the risks of emollient creams. I was not even aware of it.
“My mother loved her family, friends and parties, cooked a lot of food, laughed and enjoyed getting on her knees.
& # 39; She was intelligent and adventurous, she loved to travel. She was also a fantastic grandmother who often looked after my two children.
"Now it's hard to remember her life without remembering the way she died – an appalling, unnecessary way to end a life."
Ben supports a new campaign to draw attention to the dangers of softening creams.
The campaign is also designed to improve the safety labeling of plasticizers and ensure that people know how to use them safely.
Many plasticizers contain paraffin, petroleum, or natural oils, all of which are flammable, the London fire department said.
The creams are often used by older people with mobility problems, who are also the most vulnerable to a fire, the brigade said.
Ben also said he was unaware of the dangers of emollient creams until his family was hit by a tragedy.
Together with Ben, the London Fire Brigade and the National Fire Chiefs Council are supporting the campaign by the Commission for Medicinal Products for Human Use, which is part of the Regulatory Agency for Medicines and Health Products (MHRA), to ensure that those who use plasticizers or who care for those who do knows the fire hazards they pose – and the precautions to be taken when using them.
The Commission has introduced a new fire risk label for all products in the UK that are classified as medicinal products, including many plasticizers.
Figures from the London Fire Brigade show that since 2017, 16 people have been killed in fires in London that are believed to have been a combustible skin product.
It is not clear to many people that softening residues can rub the skin onto fabrics and dry them out. The fabrics can then easily catch fire.
Plasticizers that do not contain paraffin can also pose a fire risk, the fire department said.
Paul Jennings, the fire brigade's deputy commissioner, said: “We know people need to use these creams for health reasons, but we want to make sure they are used safely.
& # 39; Our statistics show that older people with mobility problems most prone to fires are most likely to be prescribed creams for skin problems.
"Anyone who uses plasticizers or cares for someone who does so should avoid using candles or smoking unattended, especially if mobility problems cause them to drop things, get confused, or fall asleep during one Candle or cigarette is lit.
"If a naked flame falls on the fabric on which these products have accumulated, it can easily start a fire that burns faster and hotter than usual and leaves little time to react."
“We want to make sure the message is out there so we can prevent tragedies like Yvonne's from happening again. We welcome the improved labeling of these products. & # 39;
Anyone who is unsure about these products can ask the brigade for a fire protection visit to assess these risks.
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