Fluoride Action Network


The results of surveys carried out between 1976 and 1985 in the fluorosis-endemic area of the Ethiopian Rift Valley is summarised, with emphasis on the neurological complications resulting from the crippling osteofluorosis. The neurological manifestations in the forms of myelopathy with and without radiculopathy (respectively 72% and 28%) occurred after exposure to high fluoride (greater than 4 ppm) for longer than 10 years. These deficits were clearly found to be a consequence of fluoride deposition in bones, resulting in generalised sclerosis and osteophytosis, with reduction in the diameter of the intervertebral foramina and of the spinal conal. Advanced osteosclerosis commonly causes severe spastic quadriparesis in flexion, accompanied by distressing spasms and urinary incontinence. The dilemma of these medical problems in relation to the agro-industrial economic developments of the Ethiopian Rift Valley is discussed.