Pavagad, MCC area have high, below normal fluoride levels, says study team

 A team, led by Chitta Ranjan Chowdhury, Head, Department of Oral Biology and Genomic Studies, A B Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences of Nitte University, has carried out a spatial distribution mapping of fluoride level in drinking water in the State.

The study has been published in ‘Perspective in Public Health’, one of the UK-based high impact journals, recently.

Prof Chowdhury, the main author the study, has estimated the concentration of fluoride in drinking water throughout the four different zones of 29 districts of the State. The team has developed an updated fluoride concentration intensity map and evaluated the data in the context of fluoride-related health disorders. “Now, we can see the fluoride level at a glace from the map and quickly identify the fluoride deficit and excess areas in the State.  However, Pavagad Fluorosis (Pavagad, in Tumakuru district, one of the areas having high concentration of fluoride in its drinking water) is a matter of concern and we do plan to intervene appropriately,” Prof Chowdhury said.

The team went to Pavagada, conducted an extensive survey and analysed the situation. “We met several people and officers are involved in controlling Fluorosis. The disturbing fact the that 95 per cent children are suffering from dental Fluorosis still. A small portion of population is receiving  de-Fluoridated water. But many of the de-Fluoridation plants  (more than 50 per cent) are not working properly and the rural population is worst sufferer. Unfortunately, they do not have any de-fluoridation plant (in villages),” Prof Chowdhury said.

Another issue that the team noticed in southern part of the State, especially in Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) area, is that the people living here are drinking water that has below than normal level of Fluoride. “The WHO has set optimum/normal range is 0.08ppm to 1.5 ppm. It needs to be fluoridated by central water supply from MCC in order to prevent dental caries and fluoride deficiency-related disorders. The MCC has not taken any action though a work group meeting was held with mayor and officials,” he lamented.
Prof Chowdhury said the report on both excess and deficient level of fluoride in drinking water has been submitted with a solution to the chief minister's and the health minister’s offices. But no one has bothered to reply, he added.

He said, “We have made a plan (first phase) for rehabilitation by giving complex treatment of the suffering  people of Fluorosis at Pavagada. There is also a major requirement for fluoridation of the drinking water supply in Fluoride-deficient areas. Hence, there is a stringent demand for the performance of an operational study to investigate means to maintain the normal range of fluoride concentrations in drinking water throughout the State.

Additionally, it is of fundamental importance for healthcare professionals to ensure that the local population is adequately educated regarding the internationally accepted requirements for maintenance of the recommended daily allowance of fluoride within their dietary intakes. Moreover, judicial supplementations of fluoride should represent a major consideration for this State’s health authorities.”

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