The countdown is about to end as Holi is approaching within a day. The festival is bringing lots of joyous and happy moments for us. Markets are decorated well and shopkeepers are busy selling multi-coloured water guns, gulals and other Holi accessories. The plethora of bright colours looks very attractive and on a busy day, we can see the children asking for more colours and balloons. But most of all the synthetic colours we use are made of toxic chemicals which if once exposed to the skin might prove to be very dangerous for skin and eyes.
Harmful Components in Synthetic “Gulal”
Basically, the variety of “gulals” that are available in the market are usually meant for industrial and dyeing purposes. Some of the harmful elements found in these colours are:
- Copper sulphate gives the green colour
- Mercury sulphate is used for red colour
- Lead oxide for black
- Aluminium bromide for silver
- Chromium iodide for purple colour
- Prussian blue for blue colour
- Shinny colours are a result of the powdered glass being added to the gulal
Besides oxidised metals and chemical dyes, there are certain varieties of colours which do not wash off and remain on your skin for a very long time. These are known as the permanent or pucca colours. It is said that these colours include ingredients like grease, chemicals, engine oils, and solvents.
The materials used in synthetic colours are toxic and can lead to:
- Eye irritation
- Skin allergies
- Dust allergies
- Rashes, and in extreme cases various chronic ailments and terminal diseases.
Different toxic materials used in these colours have their individual drawbacks. For example, experts say that the lead oxide used in the black colour leads to renal failure and learning disability. Similarly, copper sulphate causes eye allergy, temporary blindness and bronchial asthma. Chromium Iodide causes allergies; aluminium bromide used in silver gulal causes carcinogenic problems while mercury sulphite causes skin cancer. Pregnant women are advised not to play with these colours as it may get absorbed and harm the baby inside the womb. Isn’t it a scary situation?
Growing Importance of Herbal or Natural Colours
No matter how attractive these colours may seem, it is very essential to check the quality so as to avoid health problems that may follow. This ancient festival of colours can be more fun and harmless if you play with natural or organic colours. In fact, in recent years, the importance of eco-friendly and chemical-free colours has been stressed. These colours are skin-friendly and are also not harmful to the environment.
The basic features of organic colours are:
- Free from heavy metals
- Easy to remove
- Organic ingredients
Ingredients Used in Herbal Organic Colours
The organic herbal colours are usually made from organic turmeric, beetroot, kumkum, indigo leaves, white maida, rose petals, marigold flowers, gram flour, tulsi leaves, mehendi leaves, sandalwood powders, and varieties of organic stuff and flowers.
Where are Herbal Colours Available in Delhi?
Although, organic gulals are easily available in all the neighbourhood shops and prominent markets, it is better to buy them from authentic shops which deal in certified organic products. You can also get good quality organic gulal at Central Cottage Industries Emporium at Janpath, Khadi Bhandar, Dilli Haat and Fab India among others.
Make Your Own Natural Colours
Yellow: Mix organic haldi and besan powder to make your yellow gulal. Or else, grind dried marigold flowers or yellow chrysanthemums to get another shade of yellow gulal.
Green: Take some fresh mehendi leaves, dry them and grind them to get green-coloured powder. You can obtain different shades of green by mixing henna powder with flour or besan.
Blue: If you are lucky to find the blue Hibiscus flowers, dry and grind them to get a nice blue colour.
Red: Use organic sindoor as the red colour. Or else get dried rose petals or red hibiscus flowers, grind them and get nice shades of red.
Use organic colours or home-made natural colours this holi. Stop wasting water by playing with water colours. Make it more fun, more enjoyable and eco-friendly.