An alternate way is to use chandan ka tika. The deeper meaning behind the festival is to remove internal dirt from the body by spreading love and affection.

Chemical colours, bhang and the indiscriminate use of alcohol, all can lead to health hazards.

An earlier study from AIIMS has shown that green or bluish-green colours are associated with higher incidence of ocular toxicity.

In fact most “pleasing to eye” colours available in the market are toxic and could cause serious disorders.

Malachite green is extensively used in Holi and if it enters the eye, it can cause severe eye irritation with epithelial defect upon exposure, though malachite green usually does not penetrate through the cornea.

Colours often contain cheap inorganic chemicals like mica, acids, alkalis, pieces of glass, which not only cause abrasions, irritation or itching in the skin, but can also impair vision, cause respiratory problems and also cancer.

The alkaline base of these colours can cause injuries, the severity of which depends upon the area of contact and the degree of penetration.

Broadly, three categories of colours are available in the market — pastes, dry powders and water colours. The hazard increases when these are mixed with oil and applied to the skin.

Most inorganic dry colours or gulals have two components — a colorant which may be toxic and a base, which could be asbestos or silica, both of which are capable of causing health hazards. While silica dries as well as chaps the skin, asbestos that is a known human carcinogen, can result in cancer.


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