Fluoride Action Network

Fluorosis, the unnoticed scourge

Source: The Times of India | June 18th, 2001 | Fluorosis, the unnoticed scourge
Location: India

NEW DELHI: With 66.62 million people afflicted, fluorosis has surprisingly attracted little more than a cursory attention from experts and health planners, says a new publication on the subject.

“It is rather striking to note that even after six decades, the disease characteristics reported in the early reports are still valid, though we now have a wealth of additional information based on the extensive researches carried out in India since then”, writes Dr A K Susheela in a treatise on fluorosis.

Fluorosis, which is an endemic public health problem in 22 countries around the globe, has become fairly widespread, and multiplying in India, says the treatise, claimed by the author as the first in available medical literature.

Fluoride, which causes the crippling disorder of bones medically known as fluorosis, can enter human body through a variety of sources like water, food, air, medicaments and cosmetics.

While the causative factors are far too numerous, over-population, indiscriminate sinking of wells and bore-wells in which water has fluoride, pollution of air with industrial fluoride particles, general public ignorance and inadequate networking are the precipitative factors.

From the data generated since 1997, the author has shown that Rajasthan is most fluorosis-endemic state with all its 32 districts being affected.

In Gujarat, 18 out of 25 districts and in Andhra Pradesh 16 out of 23, are most endemic.

The incidence of fluorosis is the lowest in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi.

The book observes that fluorosis is fairly common both in the developing and the developed countries. In the developing and poor countries water contaminated with fluoride is the main cause of the disease.

In the developed countries, apart from the water contamination, dental products are a major source of affliction.

“Though promoted by dentists, commercials and policy-makers 60 years ago, it is high time that the policies are amended”, Dr Susheela writes. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has during the past 15 years developed two well defined and successful procedures for early guidances of the disease.

One is for patients availing themselves of hospital facilities and the other is for rural population in field/home/ rural-based environment. (PTI)