- Geochemical cycle of fluoride is assessed in the study area.
- Na-Cl- and Na-SO4-type waters are contaminated with F.
- Soil and shale rocks are the main sources of fluoride.
- People are exposed to high levels of fluoride intake through drinking water.
The present study is the first attempt to put forward the possible source(s) and health risk assessment of fluoride in Bahabad, central Iran. Fluoride concentrations ranged from 0.22 to 2.35 mg/L and 292–355 mg/kg in the groundwater and soil samples, respectively. Geochemical provenance techniques using major and rare earth elements in soils revealed that local shale is the most probable source rock of fluoride in the area. A two-step chemical fractionation method applied on soil samples demonstrated that residual and water-soluble fractions were the most probable modes of fluoride in soil, whereas exchangeable fraction had a minor role. The coefficient of aqueous migration showed that fluoride in the studied soils behaved as a mobile element. Moreover, the relative mobility indicated that soils played a more important role than rocks in releasing fluoride into groundwater. In groundwater medium, chemical weathering, evaporation, and ion exchange acted as the main geochemical controlling factors of fluoride enrichment. Findings of this study signify that the role of NaCl and NaSO4-type waters should be considered more to recognize susceptible areas to fluoride contamination in groundwater. People in the study area are exposed to high levels of fluoride intake through drinking water, thus making dental fluorosis a major public health concern in the area. Scanning electron microscopy of the dentin’s enamel showed morphological modifications (e.g., cracks and fissures) in residents’ enamel structures. The results of this study may lead to suitable management strategies to mitigate the endemic fluorosis problem.
*Abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653517317885