It’s Holi and you cannot wait to get drenched in some colourful revellery. But these colours, loaded with artificial dyes and harmful chemicals, can turn your celebrations into a nightmare.
Colours with toxic chemicals can cause skin, eyes and nose infection, say city doctor, adding that organic ones are a safe option.
Peddar Road resident Rajeev Sinha (name changed), 24. Sinha had to be hospitalised for two days after he developed rashes all over his body after Holi last year.
He was kept under observation at JJ hospital. “Sinha was allergic to dye, a component present in most synthetic colours. It took two weeks for his rashes to go away, but they ended up leaving marks,” said Dr Rajat Kapoor, plastic surgeon at the hospital.
A study done in 2009 by the Indian Journal of dermatology said, “Colours produced and sold in India contain metal-based industrial dyes, particularly sold by small informal businesses, without any quality checks freely in the market. The colours are sold without labelling, and the consumer lacks information about the source, their contents, and possible toxic effects”.
According to Kapoor, use of synthetic colours usually result in diseases such as contact dermatitis (a type of skin inflammation), eczema, rashes, aberration and hair fall.
“After being exposed to sunlight, some of the synthetic colours turn the skin dark. This is called hyperpigmentation. When white patches start to appear, it is hypopigmentation,” said Kapoor.
Also, water balloons laced with colours can lead to permanent damage. “Coloured water balloons, on striking the ear, can lead to infections in the ear canal (outer ear) or can perforate the ear drum,” said Dr Ashwini Mehta, ENT, Otolaryngologist, SevenHills Hospital.
Colours containing oxidized metals and dyes can also affect the nasal cavity. Allergic rhinitis, allergic pharyngitis and bronchial asthma are diseases caused by inhaling dry coloured powder.