Avoid chemical colours this Holi

February 25th, 2010 - 3:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 25 (IANS) Keep away from harmful chemical colours this Holi to protect your skin and eyes, doctors say. They suggest the use of natural vegetable colours instead.
Every year, hundreds of people all over India go blind and complain of skin irritations after playing Holi with ‘gulaal’ (colour powder) and liquid colours made up of chemical components harmful both for the skin and eyes.

“There is a sharp increase in number of patients who complain of skin problems like allergies and irritations every Holi. Most of the ‘gulaal’ and liquid colours are made of harmful chemicals that have an adverse effect on the skin,” said dermatologist Arun Kumar Sarkar.

Chemical colours are popular because they are conveniently available and cost less than natural colours. However, manufacturers mix harmful chemicals in colours, putting the consumers’ health at risk.

For instance, the green colour is obtained from copper sulphate, which may cause allergies in the eyes, or even temporary blindness; the purple colour is obtained from chromium iodide, which may cause bronchial asthma or other forms of allergy.

“I receive many patients either with eye injury or eye irritations on the festival day. Most complain of problems in opening the eyelids,” said eye specialist Himadri Dutt.

“‘Gulaal’ and liquid colours are made from different types of harmful chemicals which harm the eyes. I have received many patients who have become temporarily blind after playing Holi with ‘gulaal’ and other colours. It is better to play Holi wearing sunglasses or spectacles, so that the eyes can be protected,” said another eye specialist, Dilip Kumar Sen.

The doctors prescribe playing Holi with vegetable colours, in which the ‘gulaal’ is made by using vegetables and fruits. They also say Holi should be played in a safe manner so as not to cause inconvenience to others.

“It is better to use vegetable colours,” Sen said.

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