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Study on impact of paint on ‘Hulivesha’ dancers

Renuka Phadnis
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Team of doctors from Father Muller Medical College meet dancers

Of the 56 dancers examined by the team, half were children.— File photo: H.S. Manjunath
Of the 56 dancers examined by the team, half were children.— File photo: H.S. Manjunath

A team of doctors from Father Muller Medical College here are studying the impact of body paints on ‘Hulivesha’ dancers.

The trademark dance form of Dakshina Kannada, in which performers wear tiger masks and sport leopard stripes, is associated particularly with Dasara, when it is presented in temples across the district.

The study aims to see whether lead, a chemical commonly found in paints, has any impact on their body. It also wants to create awareness among dancers through health education about any possible toxicity the paints may have.

Varun Pai, toxicologist and Assistant Professor, Deaprtment of Forensic Medicine, FMMC, said the results were being tabulated and the details would be available in a few days.

Medical camps

The team visited Barke Friends Club and Bajilkere Friends Club, who perform ‘Hulivesha’, on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

They also held two medical check-up camps for the dancers.

Sudhir Prabhu H., Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, FMMC, said they examined 56 ‘Hulivesha’ dancers, of them, half were children. Two children were anaemic and they were given iron and folic acid tablets. “We also saw cases of skin rashes and eruptions,” he said. However, he said one could not conclude that the health issues were due to the use of body paints.

M.S. Baliga, scientist, father Muller Research Centre and Member, UNESCO Chair on Bioethics, South Indian Unit at FMMC, said no one had studied the levels of lead in paints though there had been studies on the effect of lead on people working in industries.


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