July 6, 2013

Fluorosis - Types - Causes - Impact - Prevention in India

Fluorosis is a disease caused due to excessive ingestion of the trace element, Fluoride through water or food. It not only affects Human but also other aspects of the Ecosystem.

Fluorosis is of two kinds:
1. Dental Fluorosis                                          
2. Skeletal Fluorosis

In Dental Fluorosis, the teeth lose their shining and they gradually get spots of brownish and yellowsih colour. The Fluorine removed teeth enamel coat over the teeth and in a later stage, the teeth get dropped. It mainly occurs in children in the age group of 0-14 years when the children are exposed to a high intake of Fluoride before the teeth fully get mineralized.

The symptoms of Dental Fluorosis are:
  •  Chalky White patches on the teeth
  • Yellow stained teeth
  •  Brown stained teeth
  •  Discoloration of teeth
  • Weak teeth

In Skeletal Fluorosis, the Skeletal bones are affected. It is caused due to excessive ingestion of Fluoride over a prolonged period of time. This is responsible for disorderly development of the twist of skeletal bones. Skeletal Fluorosis can lead to a crippling stage where the Spinal cord and Spinal nerves are compressed which can eventually lead to Paralysis. This can affect persons in any age group.

 The symptoms of Skeletal Fluorosis are:
  •  Pain in the Joints
  •  Abnormal growth of bones at the Joints
  •   Inactive Movements
  •  Respiratory problems

Fluorosis in its severe form (skeletal fluorosis) is a crippling disorder that occurs due to excess intake of fluoride, mainly through drinking water. The effects, being permanent and irreversible in nature, are detrimental to the health of the individual and the community, which in turn has an impact on the growth, development, economy and human resource.

Present Status of Fluorosis in India:
  • The permissible fluoride limit, as per BIS is 1 ppm in drinking water. At least 19 States have been identified with fluoride in water level above the safe limit. 
  • At least 230 districts in 19 States are affected by fluorosis. 
  • These States are Andhra Pardesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Orissa, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has initiated a National Programme for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) in 100 districts of 17 affected-States during the XIth Five Year Plan. 

Fluorosis Prevention in India:
  • Fluorosis cannot be cured but it can only be prevented.
  • The best and only way to prevent fluorosis is providing safe drinking water to people.
  • Nutritional food rich in Vitamin C and D, Calcium, Magnesium  can prevent Fluorosis to some extent. The presence of Calcium in gut directly affects the absorption of Fluoride ions and will also improve serum calcium levels.
  •  In highly endemic areas, safe drinking water should be provided either through Pipe line water supply or through other alternative sources.
  • Rain water harvesting will help people's problem to a larger extent.


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