Hazards of Holi Colours

Lot has been said and heard about Eco friendly Holi colour celebration. Here are some fact one should  consider before playing with holi colours. One of the unfortunate incidence was that at least 200 people including several children were hospitalized during Holi in 2015.

Increase in usage of industrial chemicals in holi colours have added risk to our life. There is a severe health concerns raised during recent years due to use of hazardous colours during Holy festival. Most people are also unaware of the components used to make these colors.

It is increasingly become very important to create awareness of chemicals being used in the colours.

Types of Colours:
1) Paste Colours:
Below are the paste colours and it’s hazards
Colour Chemical Effects
Black Lead Oxide Renal Failure*
Green Copper Sulphate Eye allergy, pufiness & temporary blindness
Red Mercury Sulphate Skin cancer
Blue Prussian blue* Dermatitis
* Prussian blue – A deep blue pigment used in painting and dyeing
* Renal Failure – inability of the kidneys to excrete wastes and to help maintain the electrolyte balance.


2) Dry Colours
Dry colours are usually Gulals.


Gulal contains:
a) Powdered Glass – Gives shiny colour to Gulal – get deposited in the kidney, liver and bones. This directly affects the metabolism functions can lead to eye damage
b) Asbestos or silica – used as base material – causes cancer cause asthma, skin diseases and temporary blindness.


3) Wet Colours:
Wet Colours are water based colour which get easily dissolved in water consists of high alkaline base. It is made from toxic compounds mixed with engine oil. Since liquid in nature can easily enter our health system adding immediate risk.


Tips before buying Holi colours:
  • – Check the smell of the colours whether made using engine oil or other chemicals.
  • – Read the instructions on the colour packet carefully. Avoid the colours which are specified for industrial use.
  • – Avoid colours if you notice glass powder.
  • – Buy Eco friendly colours.
  • – Make natural Holi colours at home.
Eco Holi Colours



The preparation of Holi colours lack any quality checks. Use of toxic colours should be discouraged, and all doctors should caution people against using synthetic dyes. Manufacturing of Holi colours must be put under guidelines of the Food and Drug Cosmetic Act and the Bureau of Indian Standards.
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