01 April 2013
I SUCK CREOSOTE - 20 times a day! .....WORLD EXCLUSIVE !!
Blocked up by a slight cold last year, as summer slipped into damp autumn, and Nottingham Forest's early sparkling form duly subsided into mediocrity, I invested in some Potter's traditional pastilles (£1.85p) 'The traditional remedy for the relief of Catarrh, Coughs and Colds' (and ailing football teams). Clearly unpeturbed by the mighty European Parliament and Dept. Trade & Industry's rulings that creosoted materials should not be touched, placed indoors, or allowed to contaminate foodstuffs, this invigorating and brave lozenge declares in it's ingredients, that 0.2% is Creosote BPC. Mind you, as a note of caution, and perhaps nod to the powers that be, it does recommend that no more than 20 should be taken in 24 hrs !
However, a customer responded:
"On one of your otherwise very helpful webpages you refer to creosote BPC in cough pastilles. This is very very unlikely to be the creosote made from coal tar that goes on sleepers and other wood products. It is very very likely to be creosote extract from the creosote bush which is a very different and natural product with a long history of medicinal use particularly for inhalation.
Confusing the two is unhelpful."
Scientific Officer, Environmental Protection
Duly told off, we replied:
Of course you're right! Although the item is somewhat tongue in cheek, it is maybe confusing or unhelpful to those who are seriously considering the issue of creosote treatment in railway sleepers. Creosote BPC is an antiseptic and analgesic from the creosote bush, rather than the creosote product of the petro chemical industry.
Creosote BPC (often referred to as chaparral when used as an herbal remedy) is used as a herbal supplement and was used by Native Americans in the Southwest as a treatment for many maladies, including sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, chicken pox, dysmenorrhea, and snakebite. The shrub is still widely used as a medicine in Mexico. It has been used as a disinfectant, a laxative, and a cough treatment
Interestingly enough, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States has issued warnings about the health hazards of ingesting creosote bush or using it as an internal medicine and discourages its use. In 2005, Health Canada issued a warning to consumers to avoid using the leaves of Larrea species because of the risk of damage to the liver and kidneys.
The other form of creosote is coal tar creosote. Coal tar creosote is the most widely used wood preservative in the world. It is a thick, oily liquid typically amber to black in colour. The American Wood Preservers' association states that creosote "shall be a distillate derived entirely from tars produced from the carbonization of bituminous coal." Coal tar used for certain applications may be a mixture of coal tar distillate and coal tar. The prevailing use of creosote in the United States is to preserve wooden utilities/telephone poles, railroad cross ties, switch ties and bridge timbers from decay. Due to its carcinogenic character, the European Union has banned the sale of creosote treated wood in many settings.
Coal tar products are also used in medicines to treat diseases such as psoriasis, and as animal and bird repellents, insecticides, animal dips, and fungicides. Some over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos contain coal tar solutions.
I think we just got away with it !!