Lead Poisoning by Holi Colors

It's December mid in India, and all the people are preparing for the next big festival of the country,"Holi". During holi people play lots of color and enjoy good time with their family and friends. Color brings happiness in our mind and cheerfulness in our life. But due to huge demand in the markets, and shrinking time limits, people are manufacturing synthetic colors for Holi. Synthetic colors are made of cheap quality minerals, dyes and fragrances, which many times became harmful to people.

One of the biggest culprit of color poisoning is Lead(Pb). Lead is a highly toxic metal and a very strong poison. It is found in lead-based paints, including paint on the walls of old houses and toys. It is also found in:

  • art supplies
  • contaminated dust
  • gasoline products


Lead poisoning usually occurs over a period of months or years. The poisoning can cause severe mental and physical impairment. Young children are most vulnerable to lead poisoning. Children get lead in their bodies by putting the lead containing objects in their mouths. They may also be poisoned by touching the lead and then putting their fingers in their mouths. Lead is more harmful to children because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. Severe lead poisoning is treated with chelation therapy and EDTA. However, damage from lead poisoning cannot be reversed.

Lead poisoning occurs when lead is ingested. It can also be caused by breathing in dust that contains lead. You cannot smell or taste lead. It is not visible to the naked eye. Symptoms of lead poisoning are varied. They may affect many parts of the body. Most of the time, lead poisoning builds up slowly. It follows repeated exposures to small quantities of lead. Signs of repeated lead exposure include:

  • abdominal pain
  • abdominal cramps
  • aggressive behavior
  • constipation
  • sleep problems
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • loss of developmental skills in children
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • high blood pressure
  • numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • memory loss
  • anemia
  • kidney dysfunction


Lead poisoning is diagnosed with a blood lead test. This test is performed on a standard blood sample.

Lead is common in the environment. Low levels in adults are not harmful. However, low levels in children are a cause for concern. Normal lead levels vary by age group. The amount of lead in the blood is measured in micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL).

For adults, a normal result is less than 20 mcg/dL. Slightly higher levels may not be serious. Treatment is recommended if the adult has symptoms of lead poisoning. It is also recommended for a blood lead level greater than 60 mcg/dL.

Simple steps can help you prevent lead poisoning. Some tips include:

  • Avoid using cheap quality color for Holi celebration.
  • Try to wear a face mask while playing Holi.
  • Keep your home free from dust.
  • Make sure everyone washes their hands before eating after playing color.
  • Purchase free from heavy metal color for your Holi celebration.


Celebrate Holi with safe colors, spread happiness, and prevent yourselves and your family from lead poisioning.

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