Mineral oil is an ingredient that is derived from crude oil and has gone through many stages of processing and refining. The term 'mineral oil' is used quite broadly and so can refer to highly refined oils such as those used in baby products as well as untreated/mildly treated oils used in engine oils, transmission fluids, gear oils etc. These unrefined oils can include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and are classified as carcinogenic to humans by the IARCii. This can cause some confusion, as people use this information and apply it to all 'mineral oils' including the highly refined kind used in personal care, cosmetic and baby products. This kind of mineral oil however, is usually regulated and has to pass tests to prove it has been refined enough and does not include these carcinogenic impurities. Even though the mineral oil used in cosmetics and baby product is not the same or as dangerous as other, unrefined carcinogenic mineral oil, it does still come from carcinogenic-laden crude oil, a non-renewable resource that contributes to environmental damage. Pollution is associated with virtually all activities throughout all stages of oil and gas production, from exploratory activities to refining, wastewaters, gas emissions, solid waste and aerosols generated during drilling, production, refining and transportation. This is not taking into account the detrimental impacts that oil spills have on whole ecosystems, and the social impacts of the petrochemical industryiv.
ii) Petroleum Engineering - Downstream - Environmental Impacts Of The Oil Industry
iv) Mineral Oils, Untreated or Mildly Treated IARC