Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 22 Mar 2016 Holi increases risk ...

Holi increases risk of skin cancer, miscarriage in pregnant women: experts

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NAHID BUTT
Published Mar 22, 2016, 5:02 pm IST
Updated Mar 22, 2016, 9:07 pm IST
Be it colours used for playing or Bhang, the popular drink consumed during the festivities, Holi may not be all about harmless fun anymore.
People who handle colours or play Holi often complain of conjunctivitis, visual impairment, asthma and brutal skin reactions. (Photo: AP)
 People who handle colours or play Holi often complain of conjunctivitis, visual impairment, asthma and brutal skin reactions. (Photo: AP)

Even though Holi is a time to enjoy with your loved ones, experts caution that celebrating it comes with potential health hazards. Be it colours used for playing or even Bhang, the popular drink consumed during the festivities, Holi may not be all about harmless fun anymore.

“Some colours are highly toxic and can even cause cancer. People who handle colours or play Holi often complain of conjunctivitis, visual impairment, asthma and brutal skin reactions,” says Dr. Vikas Goswami, who is a Senior Consultant Oncologist at Fortis Hospital. He reveals that many people tend to go for darker Holi colours that do not easily come off the skin and that such colours contain industrial chemicals that can even lead to serious diseases like skin cancer.

 

Here are some of the chemicals most commonly found in Holi colours nowadays:

1) Red colour is obtained from mercury sulphite that can cause skin cancer or Minamata disease (mental retardation, paralysis, and impaired vision).
2) Green colour comes from copper sulphate, which can result in eye allergies and even cause temporary blindness.
3) Shiny colours are actually a result of powdered glass being added to other colour powders.
4) Purple colour powder is obtained from chromium iodide, which can lead to bronchial asthma or different types of allergy.
5) Silver colour is procured from aluminium bromide – a known carcinogenic.
6) Black colour is acquired from lead oxide, which can cause renal failure or even learning disabilities in children.

 

Experts even warn that pregnant women should stay away from the festive revelry altogether. Either they should remain indoors or make sure that trusted elders are around in case they choose to step out, advises Dr. Shobha Gupta, a gynaecologist and IVF specialist at Mother’s Lap IVF Centre.

“Lactating mothers should take the same precautionary measures as pregnant women. Many colours available in the market contain lead that can cause pregnancy complications like premature birth or even a miscarriage. These colours can also adversely affect the nervous and reproductive system of expecting women,” adds Dr. Gupta.

 

Moreover, pregnant women should also steer clear of Bhang as it is an intoxicant. “Consumption of bhang can result in high blood pressure and an increased heartbeat rate. This drink can harm not only the nervous system and the brain but also the foetus," warns Dr. Gupta.

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