Tamilnadu is one of the 17 States in the country grappling with the ‘fluoride problem,’ according to K P Anbazhagan, Minister for Information and Publicity and Local Administration.
Inaugurating a national workshop on ‘Nutritional Effects on Fluorosis’, here yesterday, he said, excessive fluoride content in water resulted in different types of fluorosis.
‘Fluoride affects teeth in children and skeleton of all age groups. Proper nutrition intervention is essential for prevention’, he said.
Quoting from a survey, the Minister said of the total 81,787 habitations in the State, water quality was found to have been affected in 5,574. The districts of Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Salem and Erode were the worst hit.
He said fluorosis mitigation programmes included awareness creation, providing safe and alternate source of water and promoting defluoridation activities .
C K Gariyali, Secretary to Government, Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department, said fluorosis was a major public health problem in India and was endemic.
An estimated 66.6 million people were at risk due to excess fluoride content in groundwater. If the content of fluriode present in water was over 1.5 mg per litre it was considered high. In 22 of the 29 districts habitations with excess flouride content had been identified and steps were being taken to supply safe drinking water to them from ‘distant sources’.
The Secretary said a Multi-Disciplinary Fluorosis Control Cell, headed by her, was functioning in the State for the last two years and appropriate fluoride-mitigating activities were proposed to be taken up through women self-help groups, rural development workers, representatives of local bodies and NGOs.
Rakesh Bihari, Joint Secretary, Department of Drinking Water Supply, Government of India, Dr Anil Kohli, president, Dental Council of India, Dr Sudarshan, principal, the Government Dental College, Chennai and Dr B P Rajan, former Vice-Chancellor, Dr M G R Medical University, were also present.