December 5th, 2006

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Petroleum spas in Naftalan, Azerbaijan

Petroleum Spas are becoming more common in Naftalan (in central Azerbaijan). Western doctors say that bathing in cruse oil may cause cancer, but locals in Azerbaijan disagree.

The New York Times reported this on the health benefits (or cancer risks) of the spas:

Gyultikin Suleymanova, the lead doctor, said the local crude was unusual because it contained little natural gas or other lighter fractions of petroleum, and as a result was safe.

Naftalan crude contains about 50 percent naphthalene, a hydrocarbon best known as the stuff of mothballs. It is also an active ingredient in coal tar soaps, which are used by dermatologists to treat psoriasis, though in lower concentrations.

The National Agency for Research on Cancer, an American government agency, classifies naphthalene as a possible carcinogen, though Dr. Suleymanova said that is not the case when people bathe in it. Baths are lukewarm and last 10 minutes.

The therapeutic benefits are a product of natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory agents that seep into the skin, she said.

Written by Healthy Vacations on December 5th, 2006 with comments disabled.
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