Fluoride Action Network

Experts’ poser on water purifiers

Source: The Pioneer | March 31st, 2017 | By Radhika Nagrath
Location: India

It is a known fact that only a small fraction of about 2.5% of earth’s water is fresh and suitable for human consumption. Approximately 13% of the available water on earth is ground water. To make the water drinkable, variety of water purifiers are available in the market these days.

Before choosing the right one for a region, the scientists of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have made simple user friendly water testing kits, using which one can determine the quality of water and choose the best purifier for oneself.

According to a recent study published in the journal of applied pharmaceutical science, the water samples drawn during monsoon and non – monsoon seasons from Haridwar, Vikasnagar, Mussoorie, Dehradun and Dakpathar regions of Uttarakhand showed maximum total dissolved solids (TDS) in Haridwar and Dehradun region.

The ground water of Mussoorie region showed total hardness above the standard permissible limits while the chloride content was above the desired level in Dehradun and sulphate content was highest in Haridwar.

The district ground water brochure of Bageshwar made by the government authorities says that concentration of fluoride in ground water of the district is generally well below the desirable limit of 1.0 mg/L but it is higher in Kausani market and Baijnath areas as 1.5 mg/L. High concentration of fluoride (1.5 mg/L) is also found in a handful of villages like Jhalamali under Garur block.

The high concentration of any of these minerals and metals may cause disturbance in functioning of body organs say the doctors. Hence the need of purifiers.

The market is flooded with RO, UV, UF types of purifiers but before buying the best type of purifier, one needs to know the water quality. To judge the quality on our own and not get cheated by the claims made by an RO or UV water purifier suppliers, the scientists have made easy solutions.

There are affordable, easy to use water testing kits available in the market. “The analysis done by Chromium testing kit developed by BARC scientists costs Rs 16 per sample. Chromium is widely used in various industries like leather, steel, chrome plating, paint manufacturing, wood preservation and untreated effluents from these industries cause widespread contamination of water as has been reported in several parts of the country,” said K S Vyas, director of BARC while talking to The Pioneer during a workshop.

Long term consumption of water having fluoride above 1 parts per million can cause damaged and discoloured teeth (dental fluorosis) and debilitating bone ailments like skeletal fluorosis which are irreversible. The only way- out is to prevent the intake of fluoride.

Speaking to The Pioneer, the distinguished scientist and director of Bioscience Group, Dr S Chattopadhyay said, “Fluoride Detection Kit developed by BARC is a simple, user-friendly and highly cost effective kit in testing groundwater in comparison to the currently available techniques. The procedure is as simple as adding a specified amount of kit reagent to the water sample to be analysed and identifying the colour developed. The colour develops almost instantaneously and the distinction can be made with the naked eye.”

These days RO water purifiers have become popular which remove harmful dissolved impurities. However, the limitation of RO purifiers is that while removing dissolved impurities, they may also remove essential natural minerals from purified water, thereby making the water ‘demineralised’. Such drinking water can be harmful for our health.

Diverse membrane assisted devices for brackish water desalination, UF membrane assisted device for removal of iron, membrane assisting defluoridation process, Polyamide RO membrane to remove salt from water have been made by BARC scientists at affordable prices.

“We are always ready to transfer the technology to those organisations interested in using the technique and make it within reach to the common man across the country”, added Chattopadhyay.

• Original article online at http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/experts-poser-on-water-purifiers.html