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Sindoor Powder Under FDA Fire for High Lead Content
Posted: December 19, 2007
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Most women purchase commercial sindoor powder of which a traditional component is powdered red lead. Alum and turmeric also are sometimes ingredients. While sindoor was the ancient name given to the very toxic, red mercury oxide, as a cosmetic its most common base is turmeric powder that becomes red when mixed with lime juice or lime powder (i.e., a calcium compound), moistened in water or with alum, iodine and camphor; or with oil and sea shell powder (calcium salts); or aguru, chandan and kasturi, adds reference.com. It can also be made of sandalwood mixed with musk, or from a mixture of saffron ground with kusumbha flower.
National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) color experts, also according to reference.com, report that in ancient times, sindoor was made with a special type of red marble stone, covered with turmeric and a little oil that was left undisturbed for a few days, after which it turned into a red powder. However, these traditional preparations have long been forgotten and most modern cosmetic product manufacturers produce sindoor from synthetic materials, lead, zinc and industrial dyes. It is also called red lead (Pb3O4).