Fluoride Action Network

High fluoride content in drinking water major public health risk

Source: The Times of India | September 15th, 2014 | By Syed Intishab Ali, TNN
Location: India

JAIPUR: High content of fluorides in drinking water are not only causing skeletal damages but it is also causing non-skeletal damages including infertility and mental disorders.

In the state, a total of 2,749 samples (up to August 2014) was taken from different sources of water in 18 different districts and found that 1,717 of them contain 1ppm to 3 ppm of fluoride, while 314 contain 3ppm-5ppm and 99 of them contain more than 5 ppm of fluoride.

According to health experts, 1ppm to 1.5ppm concentration of fluoride in water is the standard and recommended upper limit.

Water with high fluoride content put people at risk of getting affected with gastric problems, mental retardation, paraplegia and burning sensation during urination.

Health officers checked the content of fluoride in urines and they found that out of 7,649 samples, 5,869 have fluoride more than 1 ppm, which is above the permissible level.

“Fluorosis is a public health problem resulting in major health disorders like dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis and non-skeletal fluorosis besides inducing ageing. There are cases of infertility, mental disorders and others which we have found during the survey in areas with high fluoride contents in drinking water,” Dr Ramavatar Jaiswal, state nodal officer for fluorosis said.

He said the harmful effects are permanent and irreversible in nature.

A health department’s physical report on fluorosis releasing figures up to August 2014, shows that there are 4,850 suspected cases of non-skeletal fluorosis including cases of suspected cases of infertility due to fluorosis in different districts.

In the survey, the health department conducted tests on more than 2,76 lakh people and found that 90,122 were suspected cases of dental fluorosis and 17,160 persons were suspected cases of skeletal fluorosis but it came as a shock for the health authorities when they found that there are cases of 4,850 suspected non-skeletal cases.

Dr Jaiswal said they do not have separate figures of cases of infertility linked to fluorosis as they are included in suspected non-skeletal cases. The other non-skeletal cases are persons suffering from swollen joints, muscular tenderness and systematic rigidity.

The survey was conducted in 18 districts of the state. The highest number of non-skeletal cases were found in Jodhpur (2,262), Churu (1,325) and Jaipur (1,068).

Rajasthan is one of the states with the best National Programme for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) and the director general of the Union ministry of health is expected to visit the state soon.