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Harmful side effects of Holi colours to watch out for

Playing with colours is one of the main attractions of Holi. The vibrant and colourful festival of Holi is loved by one and all. For at least two days – on Choti Holi (March 7) and Holi (March 8) , people put all their worries aside to enjoy this riot of colours with a lot of enthusiasm and fervour.

Dr Atul Kumar Mittal, Principal Director – ENT, Fortis Memorial Reseach Institute, Gurugram said Chemicals, toxic metal-based pigments, mica, glass granules, asbestos are some of the substances used in making these colours.
ENT issues

Apart from other health ailments, toxins in Holi colours can cause a plethora of ENT (ear, nose, throat) issues. Use of water balloons too can impact our ears and eyes in a variety of ways. Water may enter the ear and cause itching, earache or blockage.

Chemicals in colours can cause respiratory issues

“Contaminants in colours can enter our mouth and airways causing respiratory problems. Particulate chemicals in colours can aggravate conditions like asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which can in turn lead to wheezing, coughing and mucus production. These particles can also irritate our nasal cavities and trigger rhinitis or allergic cold and may cause our airways to become hypersensitive. Also, people with compromised immunity or prone to asthma should avoid playing Holi, ” says Dr Mittal.

Research has shown that 40-80% of particles in Holi colours have diameters under 10μm (micron).

Dr Mittal concludes by saying that we need more awareness on harmful effects of colours and opt for organic or herbal based colours.

Source: Hindustan Times