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Fluoride and Fluorosis Mitigation: Indian Contributions and Its Impact

Abstract

Fluorosis, a neglected disease in India, has been brought to the forefront with substantial developments in knowledge base through basic and applied research through interdisciplinary approaches, involving water and health sectors during the last four decades. Fluorosis has a simple, diagnostic protocol using a battery of tests, enabling to differentiate the disease from other disorders with overlapping health complaints. The community needs safe water with F¯<1.0 mg/L for consumption. When safe water is not available, instead of adopting treatment technologies, which are unviable in rural sector, the options left are to depend on existing safe water source(s). Those who can afford may opt for RO filter or bring surface water (river water/canal water from a distance), treat and provide safe water through pipelines to every household. Many health issues, which were not understood earlier, linked to fluoride poisoning, viz. anaemia in pregnancy and anaemia in adolescent girls, are truly associated with it. Toxicity and correction have been possible through diet editing and diet counselling to raise haemoglobin. Pregnant women do require iron and folic acid supplementation, whereas children do not require iron tablets, but most importantly for haemoglobin biosynthesis, fluoride intake ought to be withdrawn. In such cases, the best option is to test urine fluoride level which should be below <1.0mg/L.

National programmes incorporating new developments are yielding beneficial results. Details of fluorosis and its mitigation procedure are now on the public domain, for the public to avail the benefits.

Keywords

  • Fluoride consumption
  • Fluorosis diagnosis
  • Fluorosis
  • Linked diseases
  • Safe water
  • Health
  • Diet editing
  • Diet counselling
  • Recovery

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Acknowledgements

The author wishes to acknowledge the support received from IDRC, Canada, and various National Funding Agencies for the projects implemented for a period of over four decades (1970–2017). A large number of scientists, research associates and graduate students worked on the subject “fluoride and fluoride toxicity” and contributed substantially to the understanding of the disease. They are gratefully acknowledged. The experts both from the health and drinking water sectors in the country that worked closely with the foundation are being thanked for their contributions. Lastly all those patients, who provided samples for investigations for decades and led the way for the emerged scientific contributions and developments taken place in India, reported in this communication, are remembered and thanked.

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Susheela, A.K. (2017). Fluoride and Fluorosis Mitigation: Indian Contributions and Its Impact. In: Nath, K., Sharma, V. (eds) Water and Sanitation in the New Millennium. Springer, New Delhi. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-81-322-3745-7_9

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