What we once called a festival of colours has now become a festival of chemicals - thanks to harmful sprays and water colours that seem to be more popular than traditional dry gulaal.As Holi draws near, markets around the country stock up on these chemical-rich colours, which also come under the scrutiny of health experts as they contain many harmful substances including sulfur, copper sulphate, chromium iodide, mercury sulphate, lead oxide and ammonia. The side-effects of using such colours are alarming. They have also been linked to blindness and cancer in some cases.
These colours are now available in so many forms that it becomes almost impossible to avoid them. Every year thousands of people restrain from playing Holi in order to keep the harmful effects caused by toxic colours at bay.
The colours that are used along with water are believed to be more damaging than the dry ones. Dry colours can be cleaned off the skin and do not stay for long as they do not penetrate the skin unlike colours used with water.
While toxic colours are still commonly used, recent studies and warnings seem to be having an effect on their popularity.
Here are some of the harmful effects of using chemical colours:
- Skin cancer.
- Eye allergies that may result in redness of the eyes or blindness.
- Kidney problems.
- Other harmful effects include an attack on nervous system, rashes, skin allergies, acne, itching, thinning and dryness of hair.
- Some studies also state that the harsh chemicals may lead to eczema if there is a lot of itching and rashes.
The chemicals have proven to have different effects on different skin-types.
It is a common myth that using these colours for just one day a year can not have serious consequences. However, some dermatologists believe that these colours can cause damage even if left on skin for a small period of time. Not to mention, the quality of these colours seems to be degrading further with every year - with an increasing amount of chemical content. Therefore, even a few minutes can have deadly effects on skin, hair and other organs.
The best possible way to bypass these colours and their subsequent side-effects is to play Holi with organic colours or use home based products like turmeric.
CA Nitin Gupta, who likes to play Holi with organic colors, believes that it is a better to be safe and buy organic colours. He said, "I have seen people visiting doctors after holi due various health issues caused by harmful colours. I think government should ban the chemical colours." A lot of people all around the country share the concern and are now switching to organic colours.
What will you choose this Holi?