Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook


Allergic to Petrochemicals, etc.



For the last year, since my asthma has developed, I have become severely allergic to basically all petrochemical based products. This includes foods with dyes or preservatives, or that were processed with chemicals, lotions, soaps, perfumes, cleaners, my soft contacts, clothing, and the list goes on and on.

I originally discovered this allergy when my husband and I started making candles with paraffin wax about 6 months ago. When I touched the outside of the candle where the residue was, my hand swelled so large and broke out in local hives. About a month ago, I touched a crayon, my asthma became out of control within minutes, my body swelled, and hives developed all over my body. Needless to say, it gets worse every time it happens and this occurs with the majority of petrochemicals I`ve come across.

I have read research on the use of selenium to help with tolerating petrochemicals for those allergic to them, however, I did not react well to the selenium when i tried it.

Is there any information you can give me on this particular allergy? Are there any treatments other than selenium out there? I know this is a rare thing, so any help would be appreciated.


Unfortunately, avoidance is the best treatment.  I am not aware of any proven therapies that can reduce or prevent this intolerance.  I would recommend getting a NIOSH 95 rated mask for when you are out and about.  Many patients with non-allergic rhinitis have trouble around odorants and chemicals (increased congestion and drainage) and those with asthma can have exacerbations around these chemical exposures.  Skin reactions have been reported to specific chemical exposures as well. 

For more information:

Go to the Allergies health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati