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CRIPPLING FLUOROSIS IN SAHIBGUNJE DISTRICT, JHARKHAND

 

For the first time the effects of chronic exposure of fluoride on the people of six villages in Berhait block, Sahibganj district, Jharkhand state, India have been reported. Hand tube-wells (bore-well) water and urine samples were analyzed for fluoride by ion-sensitive electrode. Adverse effects of fluoride intoxication were observed clinically in 157 persons among 600 villagers screened from six affected villages. From six fluoride affected villages 89 hand tube-well water samples for fluoride were analyzed. 29.3%   of samples were found to have fluoride above Indian permissible limit of fluoride in drinking water (median- 0.27mg/L, S.D- 3.22, maximum-29 mg/L, range-0.12-0.29 mg/L). All urine samples (n= 25) contained fluoride above the normal upper limit. Adverse effects of fluoride were detected in 85 children and 72 adults. Clinical diagnosis of skeletal fluorosis was confirmed in seven patients radiologically. Tooth enamel of the children was found to be affected after ingestion of fluoride contaminated tube-well water. Similarly, the adults had joint pain and eformity of the limbs and spine, along with ligamentous calcification and exostosis formation in seven patients which are highly suggestive of skeletal fluorosis. Elevated fluoride in urine further supported the clinical diagnosis of fluorosis. Due to insufficient fluoride safe hand tube-wells and lack of awareness about danger of fluoride toxicity villagers often drink fluoride contaminated water. Villagers of Berhait block including children are at risk from chronic fluoride toxicity. To combat the situation villagers need fluoride safe water, education and awareness of the danger of fluoride toxicity.

 

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