Antimony Poisoning due to Holi Colors

The temperature of the city is dipping down to its max depth, and all the merchants who are into Holi color business, are running from pillar to post to accumulate enough stock of Holi color powder for this season of Holi. In the month of March with the advance of spring people of India will celebrate Holi, the world famous festival of color, sweets and joy.

On the auspicious day of Holi, everybody in India and all those people in the world who belong to India will immerse themselves into the sea of color, sweet, joy and celebration. Everywhere in India, irrespective of the caste and creed, you can see people from all races of life, submerged into all type of colors. They don’t bother who are they playing color with, and who is playing color with them, they just play color.

In this celebration comes the risk of harm to our body due to the presence of some heavy metals inside the Holi colors. Today I’ll tell you something regarding Antimony poisoning due to Holi Colors.

Antimony (symbol Sb from the latin stibium) is a silvery white metal with atomic number 51, that is found in the earth’s crust. Its main applications are industrial. Antimony oxide can be used in fire-retardant formulations for plastics, rubbers, textiles, paper and paints whereas antimony trisulfide is used in the production of explosives, pigments, antimony salts and ruby glass. Antimony exposure may cause respiratory irritation, pneumoconiosis, antimony spots on the skin and gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition antimony trioxide is possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Health effects have been observed following inhalational exposure to several antimony compounds e.g., antimony trioxide, stibine (antimony hydride), antimony trisulfide, antimony pentoxide, antimony trichloride, antimony pentasulfide, metallic antimony, etc.

Exposure to antimony trioxide and/or pentoxide dust (8.87 mg antimony/m3 or greater) was seen to cause pneumoconiosis. Other respiratory effects reported include chronic bronchitis, chronic emphysema, inactive tuberculosis, pleural adhesions, and respiratory irritation (characterized by chronic coughing, wheezing and upper airway inflammation). Repeated prolonged exposure to airborne antimony trichloride , antimony trisulfide or antimony oxide was seen to cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and ulcers.

Airborne antimony has effects in skin described as “antimony spots” which are pustules and eruptions in the trunk and limbs near sweat and sebaceous glands. There is inadequate evidence for carcinogenicity of antimony trioxide and trisulphide in humans but antimony trioxide and antimony trisulfide have been seen to cause lung tumours in rats. Antimony trioxide is classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

To avoid all the above mentioned problems for you and all others who are enjoying Holi in your group, you should get organic Holi Colors, which are free from heavy metals, safe for skin and ecofriendly.

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