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Fluoride scare in Orissa water

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 22: High concentration of fluoride in ground water, which causes fluorosis, could affect the health of people living in 22 blocks of 12 districts of Orissa, the latest survey by the State Directorate of Ground Water Survey and Investigation has revealed.

Fluorosis is a disease in which the teeth chips and bones become brittle.

The findings of the survey show that the fluoride content in groundwater in 22 blocks was beyond the permissible limit.

Under the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) norms, the maximum permissible limit is 1.5 milligram per litre.

According to the state public analyst, R.C. Mohapatra, the maximum permissible limit for iron content is 0.15 milligram per litre while that for nitrate is 45 milligram per litre. High concentration of iron and nitrate often gives rise to gastro-intestinal problems.

Bolangir district is the worst hit with seven of its eight blocks affected by high concentration of fluoride. Among the blocks that run the risk of fluorosis are Saintala, Patnagarh, Khaprakhol, Gadabela, Deogaon, Bangomunda and Belpada.

The other affected blocks are Angul (Angul), Gondia (Dhenkanal), Binjharpur (Jajpur), Mahanga and Garadpur (Kendrapara), Balipatna (Khurda), Madanpur-Rampur (Kalahandi), Nayagarh (Nayagarh), Khariar, Boden and Komna (Nuapada), Tentulikhunti (Nowrangpur district) and Krushnaprasad (Puri district).

High fluoride content in drinking water is a major public health concern, admitted officials in the state health department.

According to them, high fluoride content in drinking water gives rise to dental and skeletal fluorosis. While the teeth of the affected persons turn black, skeletons and limbs are bent.

Rural development minister Biswa Bhusan Harichandan said alternative arrangements are being made for supply of safe drinking water in the areas having high fluoride content in ground water.

The survey report also revealed that excess iron content in ground water was found in 64 blocks spread over 13 districts and high nitrate content in 33 blocks in nine districts.

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