Arsenic toxicity related to Holi Color Powder

It's winter now and the country is preparing for Holi festival in the month of March. The markets in India are dumped with lots of synthetic Holi color powder and wet colors. The festival of Holi is one of the prime festivals of India, which is celebrated for many reasons. One of them is the welcome of new harvest from farmlands.

People play with lots of colors for the whole of the day, draining their friends, families and strangers into it. In the initial days the color for Holi used to be manufactured by natural ingredients like various herbs and flowers, but now due to less time, money and patience, colors are manufactured synthetically.

Though the synthetic colors gives a wide range of colors, but they also sometimes have some poisonous substance into them. One of those poisonous substances is Arsenic. Arsenic is a grey-appearing chemical element (atomic number 33, symbol “As” in the periodic table) also termed a metalloid. Arsenic can exist in a metallic state in three forms (yellow, black, and gray; with gray predominating) and in ionic forms. Arsenic is considered to be a heavy metal, and arsenic toxicity shares some features with poisonings by other heavy metals. Historically, arsenic has been used as a medicinal agent, a pigment, a pesticide, and an agent with intent to harm (use with criminal intent). Some of the facts about Arsenic are:

  • Arsenic is an element (metalloid) that can combine with organic and inorganic substances.
  • Inorganic arsenic is arsenic alone or combined with inorganic substances that are very toxic to most biologic systems, including humans.
  • Organic arsenic is arsenic combined with organic substances and may be non-toxic or far less toxic to many biologic systems than inorganic arsenic.
  • Symptoms of arsenic poisoning vary with the type and concentration of the poison; inorganic arsenic may cause abdominal pains, destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis), shock, and death quickly, while lower concentrations and occasionally organic arsenic cause far less severe symptoms.
  • Diagnosis of arsenic poisoning is made by determining inorganic and organic levels of arsenic in the blood and urine.
  • Treatment of arsenic poisoning in acute toxic poisonings needs to begin quickly; treatment involves removal of arsenic by dialysis, chelating agents, replacement of red blood cells, and if ingested, bowel cleansing.
  • Arsenic is found in groundwater, many chemicals, and foods. If arsenic is in the organic form, it is likely nontoxic or weakly toxic to humans, but inorganic arsenic can also be found in similar locations and materials and in high concentrations in industrial processes.

If the patient survives an acute toxic exposure, most will develop some degree of nerve damage to the peripheral nerves (sensory and motor disturbances); many survivors may have cardiac, liver, renal, and skin problems; the prognosis is fair to poor. Chronic poisoning and organic arsenic exposure have better outcomes with fewer and less severe problems.

It is advisable for you to use good quality trusted colors. Don't go for cheap roadside colors from local vendors. Try to play Holi in a safe manner, so that the colors you are smearing on others don't go inside their mouth or other organs. To get safe, tested, skin & eco friendly, certified Holi colors please click here.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Home Security Systems Saturday, 03 February 2018 18:02 posted by Home Security Systems

    This is really helpful! Not easy to find this type of data lately. Not clear why. I do have a few questions but want to re-read first before asking something really stupid. Appreciate it.

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