Will you trust the “non-flammable” powder at this year’s Colour Run?

The organiser of The Colour Run Singapore is under fire by netizens in its recent Facebook post, made in light of the Formosa Fun Coast water park explosion.

The Colour Play Asia event on the outskirts of Taipei last Saturday evening left more than 2oo partygoers seriously hurt and 1 dead. The dust explosion is believed to be caused by the heat from stage lighting or by cigarette smoke.

The Colour Run has gained popularity here in recent years (with 52,000 likes on its Facebook page).

The use of coloured powder is adopted from India’s Holi festival, also known as the festival of colours. The annual celebrations see the young and old painting one another in bright colours.

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While it is clarified by a spokesman that they “have had zero fire-related incidents in five hundred global events with more than four million participants”, can Singaporeans trust this claim?

After all, that’s a normalcy bias. A disaster that has never occurred can still occur. Well… Maybe we can be just a little more assured that they “take the events that occurred in Taipei very seriously”.

“Tested for flammability and has successfully passed the required EU standards”

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But what does the organiser of Colour Run have to say about scientific tests showing that any kind of powder can be flammable?

We can’t be sure because small particles of any kind can be flammable in dense conditions. Cornstarch is also used by magicians in their “fire-breathing” gigs. A candle flame is all it takes:

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People might not have considered how dangerous it can be, until the Taipei accident occurred. The impact is definitely amplified with powder dispersed all around, as shown in a graphic video of the blast that sent people screaming and running for their lives.

The third edition of The Colour Run Singapore will take place at Sentosa on 22 and 23 August this year. The race route isn’t enclosed, not much stage lights are expected and there’s little time for people to smoke (Giving the benefit of doubt that it’s a run, unlike the Taipei event.)

But worries are not totally uncalled for.

dust explosion is the rapid combustion of fine particles suspended in the air, often but not always in an enclosed location. ‘All you need is an innocent flame…’

 

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Concerns were also raised regarding inhalation of the powdered substances. Comments reportedly deleted from the Facebook page further escalated matters and sparked (pardon the pun) outrage.

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Wrong move.

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Why doesn’t the management want to clear things up? Why do they not want to change the theme of the run? What are their contingency plans in case something like Taipei really does happen? The European Union assured fire tests are argued to show that the powder DOES CATCH FIRE, except not as easily – what does Colour Run have to say about that?

Will any government department look into this and assure us that companies do their due diligence instead of merely brushing aside inconvenient circumstances?

Even if we are willing to go for the run, I don’t think many parents would be happy about it.

 

 

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Samantha Wong

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