Other States

Beware of toxic colours this Holi

Each year during the run-up to Holi, one hears about people suffering due to the use of colours that contain harmful chemicals.— Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma  

oli is all about colours, joy and fun. However, as we get into the spirit of this festival, it is important to keep a watch on our skin and body.

Colours traditionally made from dried flowers and herbs are now being made using harsh chemicals and dyes. Each year during the run up to Holi, one hears about people suffering due to the use of colours that contain harmful chemicals.

Nivedita Dadu, a dermatologist at Skinology Skin and Hair Clinic, said: “Colours these days are made from engine oil , diesel, acids, mica, glass powder and alkalis — all of which damage the skin very badly. In some case, these colours causes serious issues like eczema, redness, blisters, extreme redness and flaking of the skin. To minimise these potential side effects on the skin and hair, it’s best to take precautions.”

“Some colours are highly toxic and can even cause cancer. People who handle colours or play Holi often end up complaining about conjunctivitis, visual impairment, asthma and brutal skin reactions,” said Vikas Goswami, a senior consultant oncologist at Fortis Hospital.

“Toxic colours, along with UV rays from the sun, can cause a phototoxic reaction to the skin, leading to blisters and redness. Moreover, Rhodamine B is used to make gulal , mercury sulphite for red, and chromium iodide for purple. Many people ask for pucca colours that stay longer on the skin. However, the industrial chemicals present in these colours can causes serious diseases like skin cancer,” added Dr. Goswami.

Not only colours, bhang too is one tradition associated with Holi.

Colours and bhang are the two things that “complete” the festival. However, an overdose of bhang can lead to serious health complications.

“Bhang is an intoxicant that makes you feel drowsy and sleepy. Consumption of bhang can result in high BP, increased heart rate, adversely affect a foetus, the nervous system and the brain,” said Shobha Gupta, gynaecologist and IVF specialist at Mother’s Lap IVF Centre.

She added that it is very important for pregnant women not to play Holi at all and stay indoors.

“Even if they want to step out, then they should go out with trusted elders around. Also, since Holi colours these days are made up of chemicals and some are even carcinogenic, lactating mothers should practice the same precautions as pregnant women. The use of colours with high lead content by or on pregnant women may result in premature birth, low weight birth and miscarriage or abortion. It can also affect the nervous and reproductive systems,” added Dr. Gupta.

It is very important for pregnant and lactating women not to play Holi at all and stay indoors

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 5:09:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/beware-of-toxic-colours-this-holi/article8382747.ece

Next Story