MANGALORE: Despite efforts from Government setting up de-fluoridation plants in Pavagadataluk of Tumkur district, fluorosis still affects the population. Shockingly, majority of students have developed dental fluorosis, although all of them drink de-fluoridated water.
The Situational analysis of Fluorosis in Tumkur district was done by Prof ChittaChowdhury, Leader, Fluoride Team, Nitte University, Mangalore. It shows several villages in Pavagadataluk having fluoride concentration five times more than the permissible level.
Professor Chowdhury, who visited Pavagada recently, observed that among groups from relatively higher income group less than one per cent of students were free from dental fluorosis. Therefore, he says, majority of students have developed dental fluorosis, although all of them drink de-fluoridated water as claimed by the students. Again the students in a government school in urban locality of middle class or lower middle class background are equally affected with dental fluorosis with less severity, but all of the students in Pre-University College located in peri-urban locality is affected with Fluorosis.
On awareness about Fluorosis and the knowledge status, he said 84% of students do not have knowledge about ill effects of excess fluoride in drinking water. However we have educated them with the necessary information. It would improve their knowledge. No difference of awareness between boys and girls was evident,” he said.
The professor met local Assistant Medical Officer who has been working since six years in the district hospital at Pavagada. According to the officials personal observation, he finds the majority of the population (approximately 90%) is affected with fluorosis. He also explained there are many cases visiting hospital with early onset of arthritis, joint pains, limited flexibility and restricted movement of their joints. He added that there are evidences of skeletal fluorosis and renal stones, anaemia in females and according to his opinion the anecdotal profile also match with the published literatures elsewhere.
We need to get clear picture of the situation. We plan to ensure permissible concentration of fluoride in drinking water through proper representation to government as more than 90% children have already developed dental Fluorosis– which is an indicator of ill effect of excess fluoride from drinking water. If the fluoride level is not within 0.8ppm – 1.5 ppm, chances of systemic involvement with skeletal fluorosis, early onset of arthritis, anaemia, kidney problem etc are high,” he warned.
Pavagada, is a perennially drought ridden area and relies on groundwater for drinking and other purposes. An Assistant executive engineer in the Rural water supply and sanitation sub division said: The scanty rainfall results in increased fluoride levels and depletes groundwater levels. A decade back, borewells were sunk to 500 ft to get water. But now even 1,100 ft does not yield water and the fluoride content keeps getting higher,” he said.