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Is Petrolatum Safe for Leather?

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We get a few inquires a year asking about Petroleum. With names like Petrolatum, Petroleum, Petroleum Jelly, Petroleum Distillates and Petrol, it’s no wonder things get a little confusing. When it comes to treating leather, especially antiquities, it’s understandable people want to make sure they’re using the very best conditioner without any harmful ingredients.

Let’s start at the beginning: Petroleum. This is where it all begins. The name is made up from the Greek words: petra (rock) and oleum (oil). This is the oil that’s pumped directly from the earth and then refined to create a multitude of products. These products, called Petroleum Distillates, can be extremely different depending on how they’re distilled. For example, Petrol (or Gasoline) is quite different from Petroleum Jelly, yet they are both distilled from the same source. Pecard Dressings and Oils do not have Petrol, mineral spirits, or other distillates of this variety. These types of Petroleum Distillates would be harmful for leather, drying the leather out and robbing it of it’s natural oils.

What is in Pecard Leather Care Dressing is a USP Grade Petrolatum. So what does that mean? Petrolatum is derived from petroleum by distilling off the lighter portions and purifying it further to the end product. This is the same ingredient that can be found in many cosmetics, especially ones for conditioning, such as the lip product pictured. Is is also used to coat pans in bakeries and as a base for medicines.

Even though we do not recommend ingesting our products, the FDA approves USP Petrolatum as a direct food additive, and therefore monitors its purification closely. (Title 21, Chapter 1, Subchapter B Part 172, 172.886) So why is there a warning label, you might ask. The Consumer Product Safety Commission requires any product that contains petroleum distillates in its formula to have a hazard warning by regulations under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act that it “contains petroleum distillates”. The warning is provided to help doctors and emergency medical personnel understand how best to treat children or others who might accidentally consume the product.

Part of our commitment to crafting quality leather care products means using only the finest ingredients. Pecard Leather Care Dressing & Oil has been carefully formulated using the purest form of Petrolatum, combined with other high end ingredients to ensure that it is safe and gentle to use on all oil-tanned leather. It allows the leather to breathe while protecting it from the elements.

Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion that comes with Petroleum Distillates but as always, feel free to contact us if you have further questions: 1-800-467-5056.

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