Study: Powder Used In Hindu Ceremonies Contains Lead

Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 7:34am

Red powder used in Hindu ceremonies could have unsafe lead levels.

Sindoor, also called vermilion, is a scarlet powder used during Hindu religious and cultural ceremonies.

Women who wear a bindi, or red dot, on their foreheads for cosmetic purposes use sindoor. Married women may also put it in their hair, and men and children may wear it for religious purposes.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health said 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.

Dr. Cristiana Lin of Pediatrix Medical Group in Scottsdale has studied lead exposure from imported Indian spices and cultural powders.

Lin told Reuters it is disappointing to find products with so much lead. She said we have to respect families and encourage them to stay in their belief systems, but also support them.

The study 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.

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.

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