Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride in water: Youths age early in western Rajasthan

Source: The Times of India | By Viman Ghatia
Posted on July 18th, 2011
Location: India

JAISALMER: Young people have started looking old due to the increasing fluoride content in water in many villages of Jaisalmer and Barmer districts. This is serious as problem of hunchback and bone related diseases are on rise. Besides, people avoid marrying someone from these villages.

Dozens of families in Balu village of Barmer look old despite being young and many have developed hunchback. Excessive exploitation of groundwater in many villages of Jaisalmer and Barmer has led to increase of fluoride in water and in many places the ground water is not getting recharged. The water level in these villages has declined by 20-25cm.

Around 100 families in Balu are affected. One to two people in each family has developed a hunchback. The brides, who came to this village five years ago, have also developed hunchback. Water supplied through government scheme is saline.

Balu resident Pep Singh said five years ago he had no disease, but a few months ago bones of his legs became stiff and after the check up, it was found that his bones were affected due to excessive quantity of fluoride in water.

Bhim Singh, who got married six years ago, has also developed hunchback. He said, “People avoid getting their children married in this village. As a result, the number of bachelors is increasing and in last four years no baraat has come to this village”.

The number of physically challenged is increasing. People are getting weak, their teeth have turned yellow and they have other bone-related problems.

Barmer district collector Gaurav Goyal, said, “The problem of high content of fluoride in drinking water prevails in many villages of Barmer and the problem can be solved by starting the Barmer Lift Canal Project.”

Barmer is not the only district facing this problem but around 125 villages in Jaisalmer, too, are facing the problem. Water works department superintendent engineer Mukesh Gupta said the groundwater in the district has high quantity of fluoride. The department has sent proposals to the government for setting up de-fluoridation unit in the affected areas and has got the approval.

Senior ground water scientist Dr Narayan Das Inkhia said increasing fluoride in groundwater is a matter of concern. The main reason is excessive exploitation of groundwater. He said recharge of ground water is less while exploitation is more. Harmful elements from rocks at the bottom get mixed with water.

Inkhia said the WHO and other agencies have fixed standards for clean drinking water which can have 1 ppm fluoride in water with 500-7000 TDS (total dissolved solid), whereas in Jaisalmer, the fluoride content in Bhagu village is 4.48ppm, Chandhan 3.04ppm, Lathi 2ppm, Basanpeer 5.76ppm, Hamira 3.60ppm, Tejmalta 2.56ppm, Koria 2.24, Beelia 2.49ppm, Bainsda 2.32, Chandsar 2.48, Adbala 6ppm and Dalapura 7.