Fluoride Action Network

‘Fluorosis spreading alarmingly in TS’

Source: The Hindu | February 12th, 2016 | By M.L. Melly Maitreyi
Location: India

Adilabad beats Nalgonda in high fluoride content in ground water

Even as the Telangana State is yet to tackle the dreaded disease of fluorosis in Nalgonda district caused due to presence of alarming levels of fluoride in its ground water, there is more bad news for the State.

The tentacles of fluorosis that leaves people crippled is threatening to spread across the State as nine out of 10 districts barring Hyderabad has high levels of fluoride content in the potable water.

The data on the basis of water sample study commissioned by Centre across the country and uploaded in the net revealed startling facts. The fluoride levels in nine districts of Telangana except Hyderabad account for high content of fluoride while it should be below 0.5 ppm or 0.5 mg/l

In fact water samples in Adilabad turned out to be worse than that of Nalgonda followed by Ranga Reddy, Khammam and Medak districts respectively, says Dr. D.Raja Reddy, who had been working for containing the adverse impact of fluorosis on people through better nutrition with optimum intake of calcium, magnesium and Vitamin C.

Hyderabad was not included in the study as it got good water from Manjira, Krishna, Godavari rivers and tanks receiving rain waters.

Fluorosis is a disease caused by excessive intake of fluorides through water, beverages like tea and food and the disease is further aggravated by malnutrition. About 66 million people in 21 States across the country are at risk of contracting fluorosis and six million are already crippled because of it. It is a major health concern in the country and more so in Telangana where people mainly depend on ground water, he says.

Rural Telangana was more at risk for fluorosis as widely prevalent malnutrition aggravates fluorosis incidence, points out Dr.Raja Reddy, former Director of Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences and Consultant Neurosurgeon of Apollo Hospitals.

Dr. Reddy who as advisor to Madhya Pradesh government has been working on tackling fluorosis incidence through better nutrition says they have seen significant improvement in the tribal children affected by the disease. Adding to the burden of fluorosis, bacterial contamination in rural areas of Telangana without protected water supply was another public health concern in the State, he explains.

Even if surface water from tanks in some areas is good with permissible limits of fluoride, they are bad due to bacterial contamination of E.Coli. Until alternate safe drinking water is made available, Dr. Raja Reddy suggested that the Government should take up an exercise to identify the water source/ borewell in each village which has lowest fluoride level among all water sources and direct villagers only to use that source for drinking and cooking. The fluoride content of every drinking water source should be displayed so that people avoid such waters.

Other urgent measures include emphasis on nutrition rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamin C for containing fluorosis.

To brace one self from bacterial contamination of water and diarrhoea, which is the third leading cause of death of Indians, drinking water should be mandatorily consumed only after boiling and cooling in all rural areas without protected water supplies. Till such time Government could supply surface water from perennial rivers for drinking and cooking needs of people in areas with excessive amount of fluorides in ground water and take measures to store rain water, the above measures become imperative for public health, he says.