Kerosene is a flammable liquid mixture of chemicals that are produced in the distillation of crude oil. To produce kerosene, crude oil is distilled in a distillation tower in a process similar to that used to produce diesel and gasoline. It is a medium weight distillate in the refining process, and can be produced by distilling crude oil (here it is known as straight run kerosene) or by hydrocarbon cracking heavier petroleum (here it is known as cracked kerosene). The chemical composition of kerosene is fairly complex, and it is a complex mixture of paraffins (55.2%), naphthenes (40.9%), and aromatic hydrocarbons (3.9%). Kerosene tends to contain hydrocarbons that have anywhere from 11 to 13 carbons in the chains. Liquid kerosene fuels contain potentially harmful compounds, including hexane and benzene.

Since the mid-19th century, when it replaced the more expensive whale oil as a lighting fuel, kerosene (synonyms: kerosene, paraffin, paraffin oil, fuel oil no. 1, lamp oil) has become a major household, commercial, and industrial fuel. “Kerosene” started as a brand name but was later adopted (with a small “k”) as a general descriptor. In the first half of the 20th century, the prevalence of household kerosene lighting greatly reduced as electrification and availability of gas fuels spread, particularly in developed countries. However, in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, kerosene use for cooking and lighting remains widespread. Globally, an estimated 500 million households still rely on kerosene or other liquid fuels for lighting, corresponding to 7.6 billion liters consumed annually.

Produced originally from coal (“coal oil”), but later from the fractional distillation of petroleum oil, kerosene is a transparent liquid fuel with a mixture of hydrocarbon chains 6 to 16 carbon atoms in length. Although kerosene has numerous commercial and industrial applications (e.g., aviation fuel, general solvent), the focus of this article is on household uses, for cooking, heating, and lighting, in low- and middle-income countries. These lead to the most widespread exposures to kerosene and its combustion products.

Kerosene is commonly used in countries where solid fuels—biomass (wood, agricultural residues, and animal dung) and coal—are major household energy sources, often burned indoors without chimneys or smoke hoods.

Kerosene is sometimes advocated as an alternative cleaner fuel for cooking and is often used for lighting where electricity is not available. Some countries, such as India and Nepal, subsidize its retail price to stabilize in-country prices and make it affordable to the poor. However, there is substantial black market diversion of subsidized kerosene, as it mixes easily with the often more expensive diesel fuel, and it is often sold illegally in surrounding countries that do not subsidize it.


Kerosene is a major component of aviation fuel, making up more than 60% of the fuel. In addition, it can be used as an oil in central heating systems and can be used as a cleaning agent. Although the use of kerosene in many places has decreased over the years as a result of improved access to electricity  and natural gas, it is still used extensively in the developing world for cooking, heating, and lighting. Kerosene cooking is extensive in developing countries, especially among urban populations. Kerosene is often seen as a good alternative to solid fuels, biomass, and coal and thus kerosene lanterns are used in places where access to electricity is not available. It is estimated that globally 500 million households use fuels such as kerosene for lighting.

Health Risks

The use of kerosene as an oil in heaters can be dangerous and because of that it is not used frequently. When operating, kerosene heaters can cause degradation of air quality inside a home while producing toxic and carcinogenic gases. Because of this, kerosene is not actively used in home heating in most developed countries.

In developing countries, the widespread use of kerosene comes with numerous different issues. Hazards of kerosene use include poisoning, fires, and explosions. As well, some kerosene lamps emit fine particulates, carbon monoxide, nitric oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxide when burned. These by-products may reduce lung function and increase risks of asthma and cancer. Although kerosene is still a safer option in many cases than using solid fuels.

Justifiably, pollution from solid fuels has provoked efforts to find alternative energy sources or ways of burning biomass more cleanly. Least polluting alternatives at the household level are solar power and electricity. Gaseous fuels, which burn with higher combustion efficiency are the cooking fuels of choice in most countries. Biogas made from anaerobic digestion of animal dung is used where conditions are suitable.

Limult Group sells kerosene for your home needs thus providing for the nations. Feel free to visit our store at www.limult.com/shop to see more products that we make available for the people. For further inquiries, call us on +2347052446249.