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25 May 2020, 23:47 HRS IST
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  • Sindoor may contain unsafe lead levels: study

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19:23 HRS IST

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Washington, Sep 20 (PTI)
Sindoor, a powder widely used in Hindu religious ceremonies, may contain unsafe levels of lead which is associated with lower IQ and growth delays in children, a study of samples from India and the US has found

Researchers from Rutgers University in the US reported that 83 per cent of the samples collected from the US and 78 per cent collected from India had at least 1.0 microgramme of lead per gram of the cosmetic powder

Meanwhile, 19 per cent of the samples collected in New Jersey and 43 per cent of the samples collected from India exceeded the 20-microgramme of lead per gramme of cosmetic powder limit imposed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

"There is no safe level of lead. That's why we believe sindoor powder shouldn't be sold or brought into the US unless it is lead free," said Derek Shendell, associate professor at Rudgers

Researchers tested 118 samples of sindoor, a scarlet- coloured powder that is used by women to place a bindi, or red dot, cosmetically on their foreheads

Married women also put it in their hair parting and it is used by men and children for religious purposes

The results indicated about one-third of the samples, which include 95 from South Asian stores in New Jersey and 23 from stores in Mumbai and New Delhi in India, contained lead levels above the limit set by the US FDA

"Sindoor and Kajal are well known to contain lead and other heavy metals with risk of kidney, hepatic, skin disorders. Risk of heavy metals on skin leads to DNA damage, Kertaodermas and skin ulceration, nail and teeth changes," said Dr Nitin S Walia, Senior Consultant, Dermatology, BLK Super Speciality Hospital

"Problem is throughout Asia especially India, Pakistan, Middle East, SE Asia.

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