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Holi-Day Concerns

Who doesn’t love Holi? The gaiety, the fun and pranks make it the favorite festival of kids and elders alike. For the kids its just heaven- you get drenched and soiled to your hearts content without momma breathing down your neck. So naturally it is looked forward to with a lot of excitement. However, the post Holi scenario is quiet different. There is the trauma of getting the thick colors off the body. Raw skin and tangled hair make you weep. More often than not there is a feeling of nausea and drowsiness afterwards. Have you ever thought why?

Holi colors traditionally were derived from tesu flowers. Not so any more. The colors sold in the market have no natural contents. Mostly they are a cocktail of vicious chemicals like diesel, chromium iodine, engine oil, copper sulphate, and glass powder. Many of them are industrial grade chemicals. They enter our body and cause ailments like nausea and headache. Let’s check out each color and the probable cocktail of chemicals that goes into them.

Green: copper sulphate

Contact with concentrated copper salts can result in gastric problems and nausea. It can cause corneal clouding and irritation if it falls in the eyes.

Purple: chromium iodide

The chromium can cause high blood pressure and harm the kidneys reproductive organs. It may also trigger respiratory problems and allergy.

Silver: aluminum bromide

The aluminum bromide may cause irritation to skin, inflammation or blistering.  Contact to the eyes may cause redness and watering of the eyes along with severe irritation. Its corrosiveness can cause corneal damage, dermatitis and skin damage. Inhalation of its dust could result in lung irritation, choking or unconsciousness. Aluminum bromide is a known carcinogenic too.

Black: lead oxide

It is extremely dangerous if ingested. It causes irritation of lungs. The symptoms can be metallic taste in the mouth, spasms, nausea, vomiting and pain in the abdomen. There might be redness and pain at the point of contact of skin.

Red: mercury sulphite

It can be fatal if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. Mercury compounds are highly toxic and are known to be carcinogenic and may causes disease like Minamata disease and skin cancer.

Apart from the colors, the practice of pelting unsuspecting people with water-filled balloons is another favorite Holi prank. These grenades lobbed from a height can sometimes result in a nasty injury. This should be discouraged. With all the water thrown around, there is a danger of slipping and hurting too.


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Sia Mitra is a freelance writer and blogger with more than a decade of experience. She has written for most major publications like Femina, Prevention, Complete Well-being, Child, Mother & Baby, Parent & Child, Womens Era, etc.

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2 thoughts on “Holi-Day Concerns

  1. Ramya

    One more tip from my own experience – apply oil liberally on your child’s hair, and vaseline on all exposed surfaces – the colours wash off easier.

    I also used rice flour as a base and mixed haldi and kumkum to get home made yellow and red colours – worked well when my kids were very young.

    Now they ask for the ‘hot’ pink colour that is difficult to make at home!

  2. Sia Mitra Post author

    I have written this myself. Mostly its drawn from my experience.Technical details of course I researched.


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