Bengaluru: Bengaluru Urban district administration recently identified 93 villages, where residents are suffering from fluorosis, once again bringing to the fore the issue of unsafe drinking water.
Fluorosis is a chronic condition where teeth and bones get affected, at times even leading to permanent damage. People who consume water with fluoride content or vegetables rich in fluoride get affected by fluorosis.
The fluorosis-hit villages are spread over all four taluks — Bengaluru north, south, east and Anekal. Villages like Kannur (Bengaluru north), Avalahalli (Bengaluru east), Soolikere (Bengaluru north) and Indlawadi in Anekal are among the worst hit.
Archana MS, chief executive officer, Bengaluru urban zilla panchayat (ZP) recently directed conducting of awareness drives in the affected villages. Ground officials have been told to take up measures to supply clean drinking water to these villages.
Shashidhar, executive engineer (rural water supply), Bengaluru urban ZP said consuming water with fluoride concentration of above 1.5mg per litre can cause dental fluorosis. “The fluoride surveillance unit of the health department has given a report about these villages facing the problem. We have sent water samples to a lab of Karnataka Pollution Control Board for further assessment,” he added.
Consumption of water contaminated with fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis, which can render people physically handicapped. It increases pitting in milk teeth and leads to tooth loss. Data from the health department shows over 6 lakh people suffer from fluorosis in Karnataka.
District administration is advising people in fluoride-hit villages to use toothpastes free of fluoride. “They are being advised to eat vegetables which are rich in vitamin C, calcium and magnesium,” said a senior ZP official.
Bengaluru Urban has 699 villages spread over four taluks.
[The following was presented in a box]
Source: WHO, Central Ground Water Board
In the grip of fear
Bengaluru north: Kannur, Bagalur, Chikkajala
Bengaluru east: Avalahalli, Kadusonnappanahalli
Bengaluru south: Chandrappa Circle, Sulikere
Anekal: Dommasandra, Indlawadi, Haragadde, Mysorammanadoddi
- Many states, including Karnataka, have regions contaminated by fluoride, where crystalline basement rocks and sedimentary aquifers undergo ion exchange, thereby contaminating ground water
- With borewells being deepened to get drinking water, fluoride seeps into humans, affecting their health.
- In Karnataka, naturally occurring fluoride contamination has been a major challenge. Kolar, Dharwad, Haveri, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Gadag and Ballari have areas with fluoride-rich water. Bengaluru, which is facing water shortage, is also joining the fluoride brigade
- Affected people are often exposed to multiple sources of fluoride, including food, water and air (due to gaseous industrial waste). Excessive use of toothpaste with fluoride content is another cause.