Endemic fluorosis related with the presence of fluoride in water is a public health problem in most of the Indian States. Groundwater forms a major source of drinking water in urban as well as rural areas. More than 90% of the rural population uses groundwater for domestic purposes.
Since, quality of public health depends on the quality of drinking water, therefore, an attempt has been made to collect in-depth information about the fluoride content in surface, subsurface and thermal water from a cross section of the localities from different States covering the entire India and discuss the results in the paper.
|Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant in rural Karnataka|
The probable sources of high fluoride in the water, its ill affects leading to fluorosis disease and other related health hazards, if consumed by human beings and certain necessary steps to reduce the high fluoride concentration to the level of safe consumable limits are discussed in the paper.
ILL AFFECTS OF HIGH FLUORIDE CONTENT IN WATER
Endemic fluorosis is a public health problem in India. Around 25 million people of 150 Districts are affected by this disease (Survey report – Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission, 1993). Medical advice recommends the drinking water should not contain more than 1.5 ppm of fluoride (WHO, 1994). Concentration of fluoride below 1.5 ppm are helpful in prevention of tooth decay, and such level of fluoride also assists in the development of perfect bone structure in human and animals.
|Legs are bent from fluorosis|
However, doses of fluoride above 1.5 ppm increases the severity of tooth mottling and induces the prevalence of osteoporosis and collapsed vertebrae. The disease resulting from excessive consumption of fluoride. Fluorosis has no treatment and is considered to be deadly disease.
Symptoms of fluorosis
Dental fluorosis, which is characterized by discoloured, blackened, mottled or chalky-white teeth, is a clear indication of overexposure to fluoride during childhood when the teeth were developing.
These effects are not apparent if the teeth were already fully grown prior to the fluoride overexposure; therefore, the fact that an adult may show no signs of dental fluorosis does not necessarily mean that his or her fluoride intake is within the safety limit.
|Teeth affected by dental fluorosis|
The next stage is osteosclerosis (hardening and calcifying of the bones), and finally the spine, major joints, muscles and nervous system are damaged. Whether dental or skeletal, fluorosis is irreversible and no treatment exists. The only remedy is prevention, by keeping fluoride intake within safe limits.
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