Mumbai, Mar 19: The festival of colours is here to bid goodbye to winter and herald the arrival of spring, but most of the Holi colours sold today contain many harmful chemicals, in fact most are them are dyes meant for industrial uses like dyeing textiles and not meant to be applied on humans, a renowned ophthalmologist said.
Speaking to the sources, Contact Lens Society of India President and Mehta Eye Institute Director, Keiki R Mehta yesterday said these colours, which include heavy metals, acids, alkalis and powdered glass are toxic and can result in anything from skin allergies to cancer, mild to severe eye irritation, corneal damage, and discolouration in more severe situations. The biggest threat to the eye during Holi is the use of Aniline Dye, used commonly in the Holi colours available off the shelf, Dr Mehta said. Colours in paste form often have toxic compounds mixed in a base of engine oil or other inferior quality oil, capable of causing skin allergy to temporary blindness, Dr Mehta informed. According to Dr Mehta, safest colours are those made from natural sources like flowers, beetroot, turmeric, red sandal wood powder or the safe food based colours.
Apart from the colours, the way we play Holi is also becoming dangerous, Dr Mehta said, adding that throwing of water balloons can cause injury to eyes and ears when thrown from a distance and with force. It can easily lead to traumatic corneal changes, abrasions and even cataract and retinal detachment, Dr Mehta added.