ALAPPUZHA: The Health Department has initiated steps to prevent fluorosis after the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an alert about the identification of the disease in Alappuzha and Palakkad besides other states. Nearly one lakh people are affected with fluorosis in the state, especially in the two districts.
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation conducted a survey last year in both districts under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF). In it, the agencies examined over 4,000 water samples from the districts and found 2,500 affected with fluoride. More than 91,996 people have been identifed with the disorder in the state.
The highest number of cases were recorded in Rajasthan. Around 20,895 water sources were examined and 6,855 of them were found affected. As many as 29.85 lakh people in the state had symptoms of fluorosis.“The department has found symptoms of fluorosis in 7,016 people in Alappuzha,” District nodal officer T S Sidharthan, appointed for the prevention of fluorosis in Alappuzha, told Express. “We examined about 19,466 students from 124 schools and 16,787 adults. We also tested 2,746 water sources. Of them, fluoride level was found higher than normal in 1,388 samples. Water samples from tube wells contained fluoride. Number of cases are high in Alappuzha and Cherthala municipalities. The department also started an initiative to check water quality in all panchayats in the district. Random checking will begin next month. Twenty houses in each ward will be examined.”
“More cases were identified in Attapadi, Thenkurrissi, Pattanachery, Perumatty and other panchayats in the hilly area,” said K R Selvaraj, district nodal officer of Palakkad. “Most people depend on potable water from tube wells. This is the reason of the disease. There are no proper medicine for it. The government has advised people to drink water which has undergone reverse osmosis (RO), but this facility is unavailable in most areas.” “In Alappuzha, the Water Authority constructed RO plants to distribute pure water but it is not available to everyone,” said Sidharthan. “The department has been studying how to set up RO plants on low costs. A proposal was submitted to the state government and Centre to set up more plants.”
The Health Department set up a laboratory at the District Medical Office complex in Alappuzha to check fluoride in water. The testing of water sample from any district is free, said Sidharthan.