Since several ages Indian culture and diversity show the importance and involvement of a red colour powder known as ‘sindoor’ in several occasions and religious festivals. It is considered to be the purest form or sign which shows that a woman is married but knowing about the fact whether it is safe or not is important.
According to the information given through a research, the study negated the safety of the product, saying that some manufacturers use lead tetroxide to give it a distinctive red color.
Of the 118 sindoor samples tested in the study, 95 were from South Asian stores in New Jersey. Another 23 came from stores in Mumbai and New Delhi, in India. Overall, about 80 percent of the samples had at least some lead, and about a third contained levels above the limit set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We are diverse here with a lot of individuals who emigrate or travel from many parts of the world through airports on a weekly basis,” said study author Dr. Derek Shendell of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. “If there is a product that could be contaminated with lead, it’s of public health interest. There’s possibility of spread through ingestion or inhalation.”
Shendell’s team found that 83 percent of the U.S. samples and 78 percent of the samples from India had at least 1 microgram of lead per gram of powder.
“There is no safe level of lead,” Shendell said. “It shouldn’t be in our bodies, especially for children under age 6.”
“Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns. “And effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected. The most important step . . . is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.”
The FDA’s limit for lead in cosmetics is 20 micrograms per gram. Nineteen percent of the U.S. samples and 43 percent of the India samples exceeded that limit. Five samples – three from the U.S. and two from India – contained more than 10,000 micrograms.
The FDA issued general warnings about sindoor after a 2007 test by the Illinois Department of Health detected high lead content in one brand, which led to a recall by the company. Other cosmetics such as kajal and tiro have been banned due to lead content.