PREAMBLE

This document presents a few statements of scientific facts and figures pertaining to fluoride action on human body tissues. The results of (1) consuming fluoride contaminated water (2) use of fluoridated dental products and (3) use of sodium fluoride for treatment of Osteoporosis are given in this document. Regardless of whether fluoride enters the body through water, food, toothpaste or drugs, the cumulative effect of fluoride or the additive effect of fluoride is a major cause for concern.

Fluoride is known to cause a variety of health problems viz. Dental Fluorosis, Skeletal Fluorosis and Non-skeletal Fluorosis. In India an estimated 62 million people which includes 6 million children in 19 States out of the 35 States and Union Territories are afflicted with endemic Fluorosis.

In 1987, when Rajiv Gandhi was India's Prime Minister, the Government of India launched a Technology Mission on Safe Drinking Water (The programme is renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission after the demise of Sri Rajiv Gandhi) for ensuring provision of safe drinking water to rural population.

Under this programme, the Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment, which is the nodal Ministry for providing safe water, has laid emphasis on water quality through removal of excess fluoride, arsenic and other pollutants in water. Initiative has been taken for enhanced ground water recharging to ensure sustainability of drinking water supply. The Central Government an­nual outlay for providing safe drinking water has been substantially increased during the ensuing years.

The scientific facts reported in this document, revealing the recent developments in scientific research in India on Fluoride & Fluorosis and the procedures followed for provision of safe drinking water are brought to the attention of the common man in India, through the electronic and print media, besides educational campaigns. These campaigns are jointly organized by Public Health Engineers, Doctors, Dentists, leading Scientists and members of Non-Governmental Organizations. The two major technologies for removal of fluoride from drinking water are:

  1. Using Activated Alumina as an adsorbent for fluoride
  2. Nalgonda technology using alum & lime for flocculation of fluoride

These are indigenously developed after several years of Research and Development activities and are practiced in the endemic areas in India. Specially designed domestic filters, hand-pump attachments and community installations provide safe drinking water after removing fluoride by using one of the two technologies mentioned above.

Concerted efforts and investments being made to provide defluoridated wa­ter and education on nutritional supplementation to prevent Fluorosis and improve the health of the rural masses being implemented, it is absurd that fluoridation of water is practiced in the U.K., USA, Australia, Canada and other parts of the world. The practice of adding fluoride to drinking water, under the assumption that it will prevent Dental Caries (Dental Decay) is unscientific, out-dated and unethical.

The scientific evidence presented in this document, we hope, would encour­age Policy-makers and decision-makers to discourage and discontinue delib­erate addition of fluoride to drinking water.

A.K. Susheela
20.10.1998