The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a consumer warning about flammable home wart removal products, after more than a dozen users have reported accidentally starting fires, injuring themselves or causing damage to their homes.
These products remove warts by freezing them using a mixture of liquid dimethyl ether and propane, which are both highly flammable. Product labels warn that the mixture is flammable and should be kept away from fire, cigarettes, and other heat sources, USA Today reports. But, despite the warnings, 14 users have reported fires when they used the products and 10 suffered injuries, including singed hair, blisters, burns, or skin rashes, according to Karen Nast, a nurse-consultant to the FDA. In most cases, the fires started when consumers were releasing the products from their pressurized canisters.
In three cases, a nearby candle was thought to have ignited the product, but no heat source was identified in the remaining cases. Nast says this is “extremely concerning,” because people using these products may not be aware that ordinary items like curling irons can be hot enough to ignite the product, according to USA Today.
The FDA alert did not name particular wart-removal brands involved in the incidents; however, according to USA Today, Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Wart Remover, Compound W Freeze Off, and Wartner Cryogenic Wart Removal System contain the flammable ingredients. In addition to the name brands, there are generic and store brand cryogenic wart removers available on the market.
The FDA alert noted that while these products may be effective, they should always be used in a well-ventilated area and away from flames or heat sources. The agency also advises consumers to carefully dispose of the empty containers because, if punctured or exposed to heat, they may explode and cause injuries.