Chemical dyes drive growth of different industries, especially the developing countries including India and China. Among different industries, the textile industry uses >50% of the dyestuff market, which include >100,000 commercially available dyes belonging to different structural classes, such as, acidic, basic, disperse, azo, diazo, anthraquinone-based and metal complex dyes. Due to their complex structural class, the dyes are resistant to degradation by light, water, and biotic factors. Intermediate degraded products of dyes in industrial effluent act as genotoxicants, mutagens and carcinogens, therefore, cause occupational and environmental hazards to human and other living organisms. In human, the dyes cause respiratory sensitization, allergic contact dermatitis and other maladies. Health safety to the industrial workers and environmental security of water bodies have become a matter of great concern for ecologists, industrialists and policy makers. The dyes severely affect the water bodies as they deteriorate the aesthetic value, reduce light compensation points, lower the biological productivity, and cause ecotoxicity at different levels of biological organization. Also, the dyes and associated heavy metals contaminate groundwater and thus reduce the cost of prime land. Though the dye color has been considered as a major environmental threat, we critically evaluated the scientific literature and demonstrated the dye metabolites as more potent environmental and health hazards which needs immediate attention.