The harmful effect on skin and eyes of toxic chemicals mixed in colours can take fun out of your holi celebrations.However tempting those shining reds, blues, greens, yellows and purples may seem, one needs to double-check the quality of the colour to avoid skin allergies, eye irritation and a host of other health problems that may follow within hours of application.
Colours are available as pastes, dry powders (gulal) and in water form, that enter the body system through skin, wrecking havoc due to their high chemical content.
The commonly used chemicals include copper sulphite for green, lead oxide in black colour, mica granules in gulal etc, the use of which can result in diseases as serious as kidney failure and cancer.
Silica, which is mixed in dry colours, is a known cancer-causing substance. "Even the slightest exposure to these metals can be dangerous, more so for pregnant women who run the risk of damaging the nervous system of the unborn child," said Dr Shehla Agarwal, senior consultant dermatologist at Mehak Skin Clinic.
Eyes are equally vulnerable to injuries during Holi, with people, especially children, indiscriminately throwing water balloons. "Water balloons are the most dangerous as they can cause blunt injury to the eye, leading to bleeding or dislocation. One should not self-medicate and see a doctor immediately," said Dr Mahipal Sachdev, chairman and medical director of Centre for Sight.