Fluoride Action Network

Fluorosis prevention starts in southwest China kitchen

Source: Xinhua (People | November 6th, 2009
Location: China

Southwest China’s Guizhou Province is hoping to reduce fluorosis incidence in two years by replacing old-fashioned stoves that give off fluorin-rich smokes.

The provincial government’s two-year plan on the promotion of public health, published here Friday, said the government would subsidize 220 to 240 yuan for each household in fluorin-rich areas to replace stoves.

The move will benefit 15 million residents in 37 counties where fluorosis is prevalent, said Ren Andong, deputy chief of the provincial disease control and prevention center.

At least 10 million people in these counties suffer dental fluorosis and 1.07 million suffer fluorosis of bones, he said.

Chinese scientists have pinpointed fluorin-rich coal, which is widely available in Guizhou Province, as the fundamental cause for the disease.

Meanwhile, the traditional open top stoves most rural families use for heating and cooking have no chimneys to vent the fluorin-rich smokes.

Under the replacement plan, residents are encouraged to choose from a variety of new, enclosed stoves with chimneys, the cheapest of which costs about 240 yuan each.

The plan is expected to benefit 3.19 million families, or 80 percent of the total, by the end of next year in Guizhou Province, said Ren.

Fluorosis is prevalent in 13 Chinese provinces, including the coal-rich provinces of Shanxi and Henan. It affects a combined population of 33.2 million.

Acute high-level exposure to fluoride causes immediate effects of abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea and vomiting, according to the World Health Organization.