Advice from FDA: Some wart removers are flammable


Since 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received 14 reports about over-the-counter (OTC) wart remover products catching fire during use. The cryogenic wart removers, which remove warts by freezing them off, are a mixture of liquid dimethyl ether and propane. These products are regulated by FDA and have a clear warning stating that they are flammable and should be kept away from fire, flames, heat sources, and cigarettes.

 In three of the 14 cases, there was a candle nearby when the product was being used. However, no ignition source was identified in the other 11 cases. Ten people experienced singed hair, blisters, burns, or skin redness. In some cases, nearby items also caught fire.

Warts are growths caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. They can occur anywhere on the body. Most common warts occur on the hands and feet. Warts often go away on their own, but this may take years. Doctors may remove them in the medical office or they may recommend an OTC product to use at home.

→Here’s what you can do: Talk to your doctor before using any OTC product to remove warts. If an OTC cryogenic product is recommended, follow the instructions very carefully. Do not pierce, burn, or expose the aerosol spray dispenser to excessive heat, even after use or when the dispenser is empty. Be sure to use the product in a well-ventilated area. Ask your doctor about an alternative OTC product, such as salicylic acid. Applying salicylic acid to the wart often softens or loosens it so the wart falls off or can be easily removed. As always, keep all medicines up and away and out of reach of children.

Created on March 27, 2014

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