Traders use the tag 'herbal' and 'eco-friendly' colours only to keep track on sales as most of the colours available in the market are chemically prepared.
Scientists of National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) shared few tips to distinguish between the genuine herbal colours and pseudo herbal colours.
Dr BP Kapoor, former NBRI scientist, who devised the herbal colours, said, "The basic indication to distinguish genuine herbal colours from the non-genuine ones is that herbal colours will always be available in lighter shades and would never be too dark or bright. Since herbal colours are talc-based, they are softer than synthetic colours based on calcium carbonate."
"Most of the herbal colours are a shade lighter since they are either extracted from flowers or vegetable. The particle size of synthetic colours is not uniform, hence they are rough, and may cause injury to the skin. Synthetic colour is made using coal-tar, a source of carbon, and thus harmful," said Dr Kapoor.
Most traders take advantage of some sections of the public by terming the colours to be herbal and natural, despite the fact that barely 5% of the product's composition may be herbal. "Unfortunately, there are no safety guidelines or parameters in place concerning herbal colours and allow some to breach ethics," informed Kapoor.
There is no process of licensing or any certifying agency to check authenticity of herbal colours, explained a small-time manufacturer and seller of colours. "Making herbal colours is arduous. One needs to have a huge land to plant herbs, flowers, leaves and labs to check for reactions against sunlight. Nobody does that," he said.