Kerosene, a colorless, thin liquid generated through fractional distillation of petroleum is a combination of aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons. This hydrocarbon fuel produced through distillation of petroleum is invaluable for many reasons. In comparison with other fuel types, it is comparatively cheap to produce. The results of various studies indicate that exposure to kerosene is toxic to different physiologic and biochemical processes in experimental animals, which is a clarion call for nations in the regions where kerosene is more frequently used and misused to enact laws for the safe packaging and sale of this product. Misuse of kerosene comes in different forms. Kerosene has been reported to be potent in the treatment of several ailments. There are indications that it has been inappropriately used in the treatment of leg ulcers, arthritis, snake bites, gastrointestinal disorders, burns, and foot rot. Therefore, a concerted effort is required to educate both the sellers and users of this product about the danger of constant exposure.

Author(s) Details:

Ayobola Abolape Iyanda
Department of Chemical Pathology, College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Osogbo, Nigeria.

John I. Anetor
Department of Chemical Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Recent Global Research Developments in Kerosene Uses, Misuses, and Health Implications

Affected Body Organs and Systems:

  • Pulmonary System: Kerosene exposure can lead to lung inflammation and loss of effectiveness of pulmonary surfactants.
  • Central Nervous System: It may cause hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) and affect neurological function.
  • Cardiovascular System: Kerosene exposure can have cardiovascular effects.
  • Skin: Kerosene can extract endogenous epidermal and membrane lipids, affecting skin health.
  • Immune System: It may suppress immune responses.
  • Liver: Kerosene exposure can lead to liver damage [1].

Mechanisms of Toxicity:

  • Inflammation: Kerosene induces inflammation in various organs.
  • Oxidative Stress: It produces highly reactive oxidative metabolites, causing cellular damage.
  • Lipid Extraction: Kerosene extracts lipids from skin and membranes.
  • Hormonal and Enzymatic Changes: It affects hormonal levels and enzymes.
  • Immunosuppression: Kerosene exposure weakens the immune system [1].


  1. Maiyoh GK, Njoroge RW, Tuei VC. Effects and mechanisms of kerosene use-related toxicity. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. 2015 Jul;40(1):57-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.etap.2015.05.010. PMID: 26063683.

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