Fluoride Action Network

Yemen: UNICEF warns of excessive fluoride in drinking water

Source: NewsYemen | June 14th, 2007
Location: International

The organization of UNICEF has announced its readiness to present necessary technical aid for Yemeni districts where habitants suffer high fluoride in drinking water.

The UNICEF’ s Eng. Sami Abu Bakr Saeed, general director of Water and Environment Unit, said UNICEF would offer a technical support for fighting the excessive level of fluoride in water to save people especially children from health complications of excessive level of fluoride in water.

Saeed expected that the problem of fluoride in drinking water might become a comprehensive problem in Yemen next ten years because of random digging for drinking water. He said some people horribly dig to 1000 miters in mountainous areas where water contains high fluoride. He warned that bad effects of fluoride might be unexpected, especially on children.

The UNICEF’s statement was made in a meeting on Thursday brought together the leadership of local council of Bani Bahlool and Sanhan districts of Sana’a, officials in the Rural Water Project that belongs to the Ministry of Water and Environment.

The meeting said urgent measures should be taken to fight the excessive fluoride in drinking water in the two districts to protect people, particularly children, form its bad impacts on their health.

The meeting said the high percentage of fluoride in drinking water is found in villages of Mackola, Shasan and Sheian, confirming those villages must be provided with fluoride-free water and people must be warned of risks.

According to a report presented to the meeting, water samples tested have revealed that water in such villages is between 3 and 6.5 milligrams per litre, and that bad health effects appeared among habitants, especially children, like brown teeth and carved bones.

The meeting agreed on a plan to test other drinking water wells in the area, putting warning notes nest to wells whose water is not suitable for drinking, providing households with filters to get rid of bacteria and fluoride and warning people of referring to concerned bodies before digging new water wells so that such bodies can first test water to check fluoride.

Some studies, conducted by the Public Authority for Rural Water, found out that drinking water in Sana’a, Ibb, Taiz, Dhale and Dhamar drink water with high percentage of fluoride, limited by the World Health Organization (WHO) between 0.5- 1.5 milligrams in each litre of water.

According to a World health Organisation (WHO) statement released last year, excessive amounts of fluoride in drinking water is exposing millions around the world to risks ranging from crippling skeletal conditions to milder dental conditions.

The report, issued in Geneva, says the widespread effects of fluoride in drinking water, though preventable, remains largely unrecognized and neglected. The report identifies the belt that stretches from Syria, through Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, and Kenya as one of the main fluoride belts.

WHO recommend a maximum of 1.5 milligrams of fluoride per litre of water for human consumption.