Image for Representation. (File Photo)
KATHMANDU: Fagu Poornima or Holi, the festival of colors, is being observed with much fanfare in hilly areas, including the capital city, today and tomorrow in the Terai region.
The festival, also called the Spring festival, marks the arrival of spring and the harvest season. The first day of the festival is called Chhoti Holi or Holika Dahan and the second-day Dhuleti or Holi.
Holika Dahan, the death of Holika, the symbol of the triumph of good over evil, is marked by lighting a bonfire and performing a special Puja to burn evil spirits.
We should also be alert about which colors we are applying to others during Holi festival. A team of doctors has warned people against the level of adulteration in colors, sweets, and other food items being sold in the markets before the festival.
Doctors at Paras Hospitals Gurugram suggested that people should think twice before buying such products as they could be injurious to health and called for immediate medical attention during the time when the cases of COVID-19 are again increasing in the city.
According to a report from the Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists (SPECS), laboratory tests have shown that there are a lot of harmful metals in these Holi colors including mercury sulfite in red color, copper sulfate in green color, chromium iodide in purple color, aluminum bromide in silver color and lead oxide in black color.
Therefore, doctors suggested that one can use natural colors or flowers this time and keep the enthusiasm of the festival intact. Speaking about the harmful effects of synthetic colors on one’s health, Dr Ekta Nigam, Senior Consultant – Dermatology and Cosmetology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, said, “These colors are toxic and can cause skin cancer, minamata, eye allergy, temporary blindness, bronchial asthma, allergies, renal failure, and learning disability.
Most colors that we get in the market are metal oxide or industrial dyes.
When washed, these colors can pollute soil and water systems besides harming our body.” Even the ophthalmologist asked to follow extra precautions for the eyes because the color particles can be injurious and can lead to blindness.
“As the synthetic Holi colors contain heavy metals like lead and if it gets inserted in your eyes it may cause red-eye, chemical burnor corneal abrasion. The green color used during Holi can cause temporary blindness.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you should protect your eyes using sunglass. Make sure you haven’t put on the contact lenses because if the color gets trapped in them it can cause infection. Avoid rubbing your eyes if you are having certain irritation in eyes, rather splash cold water in them,” said Dr Rishi Bhardwaj, head of the ophthalmology department, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.
(with inputs from ANI)