New Delhi: With more than one crore people at the risk of fluorosis, government today said efforts are on to ensure supply of safe drinking water in the affected areas to address the problem.

Rajasthan, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are among the most affected by fluorosis, which is caused by excess exposure to fluoride. Lack of safe drinking water is a major reason for prevalence of the disease.

Health Minister J P Nadda informed Lok Sabha that over 1.17 crore people are at risk of fluorosis.

To address the problem, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is making efforts to ensure safe drinking water supply, especially in areas where incidence of fluorosis is high, he said.

“There are 14,132 habitations affected with fluoride in excess of the permissible limits in 19 states/UTs as on April 1, 2014. The population at risk is about 117.7 lakh,” he said.

The government started the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) in 2008-09.

In 2013-14, the Non-Communicable Disease programmes, including NPPCF were brought under National Rural Health Mission. The latter has been renamed as National Health Mission, which has so far covered 111 districts.

During Question Hour, Nadda said little over 4,000 habitats have been covered under the programme while the rest would be covered by 2017.

The Minister said Rajasthan has the highest number of fluorosis cases followed by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh together. These are being taken up as high priority areas by the government.

“To prevent fluorosis, we need to ensure clean drinking water, he said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has constituted a task force on fluorosis to address issues related to prevention and control strategy.