From Tree Leaves to Toxic Chemicals - How We Make Holi Colours Now
From tree barks to chemicals that can impair eyesight - we have come a long way from what we play Holi with.
Holi hai! More like chemical holi hai. Forget worrying about scrubbing off your top-skin layers this time around. Instead, if you are big on playing with colours, here’s a bit of a wet blanket for you.
As opposed to happier times when colours were made out of organic sources like tree barks, leaves, fruit skins, colours now are laced with harmful chemicals. From skin allergies, to eye problems to impacting your mental health, thanks to the chemicals, all of these ailments just got invited to the Holi party.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the organic and the chemical sources of colours, their ingredients and the potential health risks they hold.
Lead oxide is used in making black colour now. It which can lead to renal failure and learning disabilities.
Prussian blue, which is now used for the blue colour, can cause contact dermatitis.
Earlier indigo, Indian berries, grapes, blue hibiscus were common ingredients for making the blue colour.
Mehendi, pine needles and leaves from sources like gulmohar (dried), spring crops, spring herbs, spinach, rhododendron were used to make the green colour earlier.
Copper sulphate is now a key ingredient in making the green colour. It can cause eye allergies and temporary blindness.
Beetroot was an organic source of making purple colour.
Chromium iodide, which can lead to bronchial asthma and skin allergies, is now used as a key ingredient.
Rose, red sandalwood powder, pomegranate, dried hibiscus flowers, radish were all organic sources of making the red colour.
They have now been replaced by mercury sulphide, which can lead to skin cancer, paralysis and impair cognition and or vision
(Source: National Council of Science Museum)
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