Bhubaneswar, March 22 (LocalWire): The festival of Holi ushers in spring and it is as eagerly awaited as the season.
The festival of Holi, with its bright, redolent coloured powder, water filled balloons, sprinklers spraying jets of coloured water, happy faces and the shouts of ‘Holi hai!’ reverberating in the air is something everyone looks forward to.
But the commercialisation of the festival has brought in demands for brighter and long-lasting colours which have in turn helped the market of adulterated colours.
These synthetic colours are so harmful and toxic to the human body that often after a day of the festival, doctors and hospitals are flooded with complaints of itching, burning and scaling of the skin, loss of hair, skin discolouration, asthma-like condition and also ulcers that can damage the eyes, skin and the lungs.
It has been found that mercury sulphate is used to for red, copper sulphate for green, aluminium bromide for silver and lead oxide for black that causes serious health hazards like skin discoloration, burning sensation, asthma, scaling, loss of hair, ulcers that can damage skin, eyes and lungs.
LocalWire spoke to some people who sustained temporary and permanent health issues after coming in contact with these chemical colours.
‘I never knew the difference between chemical and herbal colours until last year when I suffered terrible itching while playing Holi and I had to be taken to the hospital. Medicines did not help and I had to be pushed an injection. The doctors told me the itching was due to the chemicals present in the colours,’ said Priya, a resident of Bhubaneswar.
‘I was playing Holi with my friends and the moment my face was smeared with colours, it caused a severe burning sensation in my mouth, nose and eyes. I required immediate medical help. This year I am going to play safe only with organic colours,’ said Shristi, a resident of Berhampur.
Last year, hospitals in the state saw a high number of children suffering from chemical-colour related dermatitis.
The only solution to the problem is to make people aware of the goodness of herbal and organic colours and thereby shun the synthetic ones.
The abundance of flowers during Spring made it possible for our ancestors to use the natural extracts of hibiscus roses, berries, turmeric wood, barks and even roots of several plants to make them into coloured powder and play with during the festival.
These were neither expensive nor harmful to the human body or the environment as they had no toxicity.