Fluoride Action Network

Assam: Fluoride contamination up

Source: The Times of India | June 2nd, 2011
Location: India

GUWAHATI: A recent survey showed that 18 districts in Assam have become prone to arsenic and fluoride contamination triggering alarm.

“I live in Lakhiminagar where the presence of fluoride in ground water has grown up from 1 mg/l to 1.5 mg/l in a year’s time.

But it’s not the only area where we found ground water contaminated. Almost 16 per cent of city areas and suburbs were also affected. Fluoride contamination can cause serous health problems,” said A D Paul, former consultant of UNICEF during its fluoride and arsenic mitigation programme recently.

The Northeast Institute of Science and Technology revealed the presence of fluoride up to 6.88 mg/l in drinking water in the city and its suburbs. The permissible limit is 1.2 mg/l. Any contamination above the level of 1.5 mg/l is considered hazardous by WHO.

Experts have advised the state government to set up a task force to tackle the problem.

“People are drawing arsenic-contaminated water from tube wells and no one is concerned. The state health department should provide a mechanism like a task force to check the level of ground water contamination on a regular basis,” he added.

He also suggested the setting up of a water testing laboratory.

“The state Pollution Control Board should intervene, taking the help of various agencies to mitigate the problem,” Paul added.

Assam is the 16{+t}{+h} state in the country to be tagged fluorosis prone. In May 1999, cases of fluorosis were detected in the Karbi Anglong area, which is presently the most fluoride-affected zone in Assam (15-20 mg/l).

The absence of cases of fluorosis in Guwahati is attributed to the people using shallow water here.