FLUOROSIS – A Growing Epidemic

Environment Health Uttar Kannada

In India 62 million people including 6 million children are estimated to have serious health problems due to consumption of fluoride contaminated water

Groundwater contributes about 80% of the drinking water requirements in the rural areas. There are five taluks under the Raichur district with a geographical area of 8383 sq.km, out of which Manvi Taluk has 165 villages with a population of 46,465.

India was one of the worst fluorosis affected countries, with large number of people suffering. This is because a large number of Indians rely on groundwater for drinking purposes and water at many places rich in fluoride.

In India 62 million people including 6 million children are estimated to have serious health problems due to consumption of fluoride contaminated water.

The people in Manvi taluk have to walk about 4 to 5 kms for water from nearby canals, bore-wells and dug-wells. The water that they consume is contaminated with fluoride content which makes the water look pale white. The villagers suffer from dental and skeletal fluorosis, not knowing the reason for the same.

Hanumantha, a farmer, a father of five wished he could walk and work like everybody else.

Hanumantha said, “For 18 years I am suffering from knee pain, and the water is the cause as mentioned by my doctor. I am a diabetic patient which makes it worse for me. I’m unable to walk or even work at the field”.

Hemaramunji, a priest and farmer, says that he can’t work properly as his legs pain.

Hemaramunji said “During off seasons I work at construction sites but because of the pain in my joints, it has been difficult for me to work. The income is insufficient for me to run the family.

High levels of fluoride were reported in 230 Districts of 20 States of India. The population at risk as per population in habitations with high fluoride is 11.7 million (2014).

Fluorosis a crippling disease resulted from the excessive intake of fluoride, most commonly in drinking water affecting the teeth and bones. High level exposure could cause skeletal fluorosis, abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea and vomiting. The later stages of skeletal and dental fluorosis are permanent and irreversible in nature.

According to the NPPCF, the water testing report holds 636 villages which are above the limit, i.e. more than 5ppm which makes it 26.36% of the villages in Raichur district. As per the urine samples, 83 per cent of the urine samples are above the limit. Manvi has 85 fluoride affected villages where 40 villages have no RO system, making the condition worse.

Gangaprasad, Fluorosis consultant at NPPCF, said, “We have surveyed nearly 770 villages, 590 schools, almost covered 1 lakh population. We have seen nearly 36-thousand of suspected dental fluorosis based on physical examination. Nearly 1,260 skeletal Fluorosis has been suspected out of which 267 cases have been confirmed by laboratory tests”.




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