Groundwater quality in a semi-arid region of India: Suitability for drinking, agriculture and fluoride exposure risk

  • Tirumalesh KeesariEmail author
  • Uday Kumar Sinha
  • Pradeep Kamaraj
  • Diana Anoubam Sharma


Fluoride exposure through consumption of drinking water was studied in a heavily industrialised area and suitable measures were suggested to control the fluorosis risk to residents. Groundwater quality conforms to World Health Organization (WHO) criterion for drinking except for fluoride and is also suitable for irrigation. Fluoride concentration ranges from 0.1 to 4.4 mg/l and 39% of the total samples measured were found to be contaminated as per WHO limits (1.5 mg/l). The fluoride intake through drinking water was calculated to be 0.10 mg/kg/d for infants, 0.09 mg/kg/d for children and 0.05 mg/kg/d for adults with a corresponding exposure dose exceeding 2.1, 1.9 and 1.1 times for infants, children and adults, respectively, compared to the minimum risk value of 0.05 mg/kg/d. The fluorosis risk map indicates that with a few exceptions of some western and northwestern parts, the entire study area is prone to fluorosis and the highest being in the south central part. The fluoride exposure dose suggests the risk of mottled enamel among residents if untreated groundwater is provided for drinking for a long time. Considering the hydrogeological setup of this region, various amelioration methods to help mitigate the ill effects of high fluoride were evaluated and better nutrition containing calcium and vitamin C was found to be the most effective and viable option.


Fluorosis risk zone exposure dose amelioration Odisha 



The authors sincerely thank the Talcher Power Plant authorities and colleagues from Isotope Hydrology Section, BARC, for their support during sampling. Shri K S S Sarma, Head, Isotope and Radiation Application Division, BARC, is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. ATSDR 2003 Toxicological profile for fluorides, hydrogen fluoride, and fluorine; US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Atlanta, GA, 404p.Google Scholar
  2. Batra J, Vispute J B, Deshmukh A N and Vali S 1995 Contribution from rock, soil and ground water to fluoride content of food stuffs grown in some selected villages of Bhadravati Tehsil, Chandrapur District, Maharashtra; Fluoride Environ. Nagpur, India: Gondwana Geol. Soc. 9 81–90.Google Scholar
  3. Battaleb-Looie S, Moore F, Malde M K and Jacks G 2013 Fluoride in groundwater, dates and wheat: Estimated exposure dose in the population of Bushehr, Iran; Food Compos. Anal. 29(2) 94–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BIS 2012 Bureau of Indian Standards, drinking water specification (2nd revision) ICS 13.060.20, IS 10500:2012.Google Scholar
  5. Bretzler A and Johnson C A 2015 The geogenic contamination handbook: Addressing arsenic and fluoride in drinking water; Appl. Geochem. 63 642–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brindha K and Elango L 2013 Geochemistry of fluoride rich groundwater in a weathered granitic rock region, Southern India; Water Qual. Expo. Health 5(3) 127–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brindha K, Jagadeshan G, Kalpana L and Elango L 2016 Fluoride in weathered rock aquifers of southern India: Managed aquifer recharge for mitigation; Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 23(9) 8302–8316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cao J, Zhao Y, Li Y, Deng H J, Yi J and Liu J W 2006 Fluoride levels in various black tea commodities: Measurement and safety evaluation; Food Chem. Toxicol. 44(7) 1131–1137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. CGWB 2010 Ground water quality in shallow aquifers of India; Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, Faridabad (
  10. Chae G T, Yun S T, Mayer B, Kim K H, Kim S Y, Kwon J S, Kim K and Koh Y K 2007 Fluorine geochemistry in bedrock groundwater of South Korea; Sci. Total Environ. 385(1) 272–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen Q, Song Z, Lu Q, Wang M, Feng J, Tian H, Liu J, Li X and Zhang R 2012 Fluorine contents and its characteristics of groundwater in fluorosis area in Laizhou Bay, China; Toxicol. Environ. Chem. 94(8) 1490–1501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Choubisa S L and Choubisa D 2016 Status of industrial fluoride pollution and its diverse adverse health effects in man and domestic animals in India; Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 23(8) 7244–7254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. David M B and Gentry L E 2000 Anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus and riverine export for Illinois, USA; J. Environ. Qual. 29(2) 494–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davies T C 2008 Environmental health impacts of East African Rift volcanism; Environ. Geochem. Health 30(4) 325–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davies S N and DeWiest R J M 1966 Hydrogeology; Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Dean 1993 Health effects of ingested fluoride; National Academy of Sciences, Washington, USA, 169p.Google Scholar
  17. Dhadse S, Kumari P and Bhagia L J 2008 Fly ash characterization, utilization and Government initiatives in India – A review; J. Sci. Ind. Res. 67 11–18.Google Scholar
  18. Dhakate R and Rao T G 2010 Assessment of groundwater quality in Talcher coalfield area, Orissa, India; Int. J. Earth Sci. Eng. 3(1) 43–55.Google Scholar
  19. Durfor C N and Becker E 1964 Public water supplies of the 100 largest cities in the United States, 1962 (No. 1812); US Government Printing Office, pp. 343–346.Google Scholar
  20. Eaton F M 1950 Significance of carbonates in irrigation waters; Soil Sci. 69(2) 123–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. EU Directive C 1980 European union council directive 80/778/EEC of 15 July 1980 relating to the quality of water intended for human consumption; Off. J. Eur. Commun. L229 11–29.Google Scholar
  22. Fordyce F M, Vrana K, Zhovinsky E, Povoroznuk V, Toth G, Hope B C, Iljinsky U and Baker J 2007 A health risk assessment for fluoride in Central Europe; Environ. Geochem. Health 29(2) 83–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Frencken J E 1992 Endemic fluorosis in developing countries: Causes, effects and possible solutions; TNO Institute for Preventive Health Care. Publ. No. 91.082, Leiden.Google Scholar
  24. Genxu W and Guodong C 2001 Fluoride distribution in water and the governing factors of environment in arid north-west China; J. Arid Environ. 49(3) 601–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grimaldo M, Borja-Aburto V H, Ramírez A L, Ponce M, Rosas M and Díaz-Barriga F 1995 Endemic fluorosis in San Luis Potosí, Mexico; Environ. Res. 68 25–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hounslow A W 1995 Water quality data analysis and interpretation; CRC Press, Florida.Google Scholar
  27. Jacks G, Bhattacharya P, Chaudhary V and Singh K P 2005 Controls on the genesis of some high-fluoride groundwaters in India; Appl. Geochem. 20(2) 221–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jackson P J, Harvey P W and Young W F 2002 Chemistry and bioavailability aspects of fluoride in drinking water; Report No.: CO 5037 (http://americanfluoridationsociety.HrBorg/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Jackson-lead-corrosive-HrBwrcreport.pdf).
  29. Jagadeshan G, Kalpana L and Elango L 2015 Major ion signatures for identification of geochemical reactions responsible for release of fluoride from geogenic sources to groundwater and associated risk in Vaniyar River basin, Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu, India; Environ. Earth Sci. 74(3) 2439–2450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jagtap S, Yenkie M K, Labhsetwar N and Rayalu S 2012 Fluoride in drinking water and defluoridation of water; Chem. Rev. 112(4) 2454–2466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jha S K, Nayak A K and Sharma Y K 2009 Fluoride occurrence and assessment of exposure dose of fluoride in shallow aquifers of Makur, Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh, India; Environ. Monit. Assess. 156(1–4) 561–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kalpana L and Elango L 2013 Assessment of groundwater quality for drinking and irrigation purposes in Pambar river sub-basin, Tamil Nadu; Indian J. Environ. Prot. 33(1) 1–8.Google Scholar
  33. Karanth K R 1987 Groundwater assessment, development and management; Tata-McGraw-Hill, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  34. Keesari T, Sinha U K, Deodhar A, Krishna S H, Ansari A, Mohokar H and Dash A 2016 High fluoride in groundwater of an industrialized area of Eastern India (Odisha): Inferences from geochemical and isotopic investigation; Environ. Earth Sci. 75(14) 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Levy S M 1994 Review of fluoride exposures and ingestion; Commun. Dent. Oral Epidemiol. 22(3) 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lian-Fang W and Jian-Zhong H 1995 Outline of control practice of endemic fluorosis in China; Social Sci. Med. 41(8) 1191–1195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lloyd J W and Heathcote J A A 1985 Natural inorganic hydrochemistry in relation to ground water; Clarendon, Oxford, 294p.Google Scholar
  38. Malde M K, Zerihun L, Julshamn K and Bjorvatn K 2004 Fluoride, calcium and magnesium intake in children living in a high-fluoride area in Ethiopia. Intake through food; Int. J. Paediat. Dent. 14(3) 167–174.Google Scholar
  39. Malde M K, Scheidegger R, Julshamn K and Bader H P 2011 Substance flow analysis: A case study of fluoride exposure through food and beverages in young children living in Ethiopia; Environ. Health Perspect. 119(4) 579–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mehta Dhaval N and Shah J 2013 Reversal of dental fluorosis: A clinical study; J. Nat. Sci. Biol. Med. 4(1) 138–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Moharana J K, Nanda P M and Garnaik B K 2013 Eutrofication due to industrialization in Angul-Talcher industrial complex of Odisha; Int. J. Sci. Environ. Technol. 2 20–27.Google Scholar
  42. Nanda P M, Garnaik B K and Panda S 2011 Studies on Fluoride pollution in ground water of Angul-Talcher industrial complex of Odisha; Asian J. Chem. Environ. Res. 4(1) 13–16.Google Scholar
  43. NEERI 2016 Integrated hydrogeological, geophysical, hydrochemical and groundwater flow and solute transport modelling studies around the ash filled South Balanda Mine voids in Angul district, Odisha (Undertaken During 2012–2016),
  44. NRC 1993 Health effects of ingested fluoride; National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  45. Praharaj T, Tripathy S, Powell M A and Hart B R 2003 Geochemical studies to delineate topsoil contamination around an ash pond of a coal-based thermal power plant in India; Environ. Geol. 45(1) 86–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ramakrishna 1998 Groundwater; Handbook, India.Google Scholar
  47. Richards L A 1954 Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkali soils; In: US Department of Agriculture, Agri. Hand book 60, Washington 78(2) 154.Google Scholar
  48. Sahu B K, Panda R B, Sinha B K and Nayak A 1991 Water quality index of the River Brahmani at Rourkela industrial complex of Orissa; J. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Monit. 1(3) 169–175.Google Scholar
  49. Shailaja K and Johnson M E C 2007 Fluorides in groundwater and its impact on health; J. Environ. Biol. 28 331–332.Google Scholar
  50. SubbaRao N 2011 High-fluoride groundwater; Environ. Monit. Assess. 176(1) 637–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rao N S, Subrahmanyam A and Rao G B 2013 Fluoride-bearing groundwater in Gummanampadu sub-basin, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India; Environ. Earth Sci. 70(2) 575–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tiwary R K, Dhakate R, Sinha A and Singh V S 2009 Evaluation of impact of mining on groundwater resources in Talcher Coalfield, India; Int. J. Earth Sci. Eng. 2(3) 238–252.Google Scholar
  53. Todd D K 1980 Ground water hydrology; Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  54. Tripathi S D, Aravindakshan P K, Ayyappan S, Jena J K, Muduli H K, Chandra S and Pani K C I 2000 New high in crop production in India through intensive polyculture; J. Aquat. Trop. 15(2) 119–128.Google Scholar
  55. Trivedy R K and Goel P K 1984 Chemical and biological methods for water pollution studies; Environmental Publication, Karad.Google Scholar
  56. USSL 1954 Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkaline soils; United States Salinity Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington.Google Scholar
  57. Viswanathan G, Jaswanth A and Gopalakrishnan S 2009 Mapping of fluoride endemic areas and assessment of fluoride exposure; Sci. Tot. Environ. 407(5) 1579–1587.Google Scholar
  58. WHO 2002 Fluorides, environmental health criteria 227; International Programme on Chemical Safety, Geneva.Google Scholar
  59. WHO 2004 Guidelines for drinking water quality (3rd edn); World Health Organization, Geneva.Google Scholar
  60. WHO 2006 Guidelines for drinking-water quality (3rd edn), 1st addendum to Vol. 1, Recommendations, Geneva, 595p.Google Scholar
  61. WHO 2011 Guidelines for drinking water quality; 4th edn, WHO Press, 20 Avenue Appia, Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  62. Wilcox L V 1948 The quality of water for irrigation use; Vol. 962, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Tech, Bull, Washington, DC, 40p.Google Scholar
  63. Wilcox L V 1955 Classification and use of irrigation water; Vol. 969, U.S. Geological department, Agri. Arc., Washington, DC, 19p.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Isotope and Radiation Application DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesAnnamalai UniversityChidambaramIndia
  3. 3.Department of Environment StudiesPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia

Personalised recommendations