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After sindoor, bindi taken off American shelves

CNN-IBN
Mar 04, 2008 at 04:49pm IST

New Delhi: After sindoor, the bindi has been taken off American shelves due to their alleged lead and harmful chemical content.

But it seems for Indian women like Shanta Roychowdhry, getting dressed for any occasion is not complete without the final cherry on the cake – the bindi.

“I wear a bindi everyday. It has become a part of my life,” Roychowdhry said.

But the simple bindi is now giving sleepless nights to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its supposedly high lead and chemical content. A manufacturer, Raja Foods, has been forced to withdraw a batch from the US market.

This has come after similar Indian products were also taken off the American shelves for having lead content as high as 87 per cent. And if medical experts are to be believed, exposure to these chemicals can create dangerous biological effects.

“The internal effects of lead are more dangerous like side effects on the central nervous system, kidney and heart,” dermatologist Dr Mukesh Girdhar explained.

These products however, continue to be manufactured unchecked in India in the absence of a monitoring agency. Even big shops in urban markets sell many such spurious and unbranded products. The emergence of synthetic dye industry now offers a variety of chemical dyes and salts at a cheaper price.

“We need a mandatory standard, which should fall in the realm of the Ministry of Environment and Forest,” Director, Toxic Links, Ravi Agarwal said.

The Drug Controller General of India still does not have any safety regulations for consumers. So the doctors advise, “Bindis should not be used if one experiences the slightest of skin irritation,” said Dr Girdhar.

Lead or not, the Indian woman is not ready to give up on her bindi just yet. And Roychowdhry sums it all for the ladies. “It has become a ritual now. I cannot give it up and I like it also.”

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