An intensive research on ways to counter the health effects of flouride on human health is underway here. Scientific researchers from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and the European Union (EU) are involved.
The lead researcher, Prof Giorgio Ghiglier from the Cagliari University in Italy said flouride affects humans when consumed through water.
The animals, including livestock, are also affected, although he noted that there was no conclusive research findings on its impact compared to humans.
“We are going to find out how the impact of flouride can be tackled from the water source,” he said last week as the experts assembled at the Nelson Mandela University to take stock on the gravity of the situation.
The research will cover the semi-arid areas around Arusha and the Great Rift Valley that are known for having large quantities of flouride in water drawn from boreholes, lakes and rivers.
Speaking during the meeting, the Arusha regional water engineer, Joseph Makaidi said Tanzania was yet to find an effective technology to remove flouride from water for domestic use.
Recently, it was reported that a mini deflouridation plant would be installed at Oldonyo Sambu area in Arumeru district in an effort to counter the problem.
Flouride from water has for many years adversely impacted on the health of the residents of the area, weakening of their bones, including teeth, often leading to physical disability.
The plant, purchased at the cost of Sh4 million, was handed over to the villagers by the Arusha district executive director, D. Wilson Mahera over the weekend.
In Oldonyo Sambu water for domestic use has a high content of flouride, a naturally occurring inorganic chemical whose consumption through water is dangerous to health.
In the 1990s, the government set up a research centre for deflouridization of water at Ngurdoto outside Arusha in collaboration with the University of Dar es Salaam.
However, for many years the centre remained idle and it was reported only recently that it was about to operationalize a deflouridization plant that was to be installed there.
The brackish water consumed by hundreds of people in Arumeru district is reported to have caused physical deformities, including weakened bones which affected mainly legs and teeth.
The head of the research station, Godfrey Mgongo, said various options for removal of flouride from water have been tested in order to make the liquid free of the harmful chemicals.
One of the local solutions to remove flouride is to use the powder from the cattle bones on water.
Mgongo said the powder would remove flouride and make water safe for drinking and for other domestic use.
*Original article online at http://allafrica.com/stories/201707240113.html