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Fluoride contamination in groundwater, soil and cultivated foodstuffs of India and its associated health risks: A review

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Environmental Science, Kanchrapara College, West Bengal-743 145, India
  • 2Department of Environmental Science, University of Kalyani, West Bengal-741 235, India

Res. J. Recent Sci., Volume 7, Issue (4), Pages 36-47, April,2 (2018)


Around 200 million people of 29 countries including India are severely affected due to fluoride pollution. Ingestion of fluoride beyond the World Health Organization recommended maximum permissible level (1.5 mg/l) is associated with dental and skeletal fluorosis and other toxic responses while lacking of fluoride intake is associated with dental caries. Minerals like apatite, fluorite/ fluorspar, topaz and mica get weathered naturally and provide fluoride to soils. In site-specific cases some industries (mainly phosphorous fertilizer plants; steel, aluminum, zinc, smelting industries; glass and ceramic industries, etc) are also responsible for fluoride contamination of soils. Irrigation with fluoride-contaminated water transfers fluoride to crops, vegetables and fruits. This bioaccumulation contributes further fluoride to the food chain in addendum to the drinking water route, and thus it is causing larger risk to the already fluoride-contamination affected population. Moreover, this new avenue of fluoride highly endangers the most susceptible infants and children towards dental fluorosis. The ‘Nalgonda’ and ‘activated alumina’ processes are the most commonly used defluoridation techniques of drinking water. But, a suitable, efficient, user-friendly and cost-effective technique for defluoridation is yet to be developed. Equal emphases are to be given on creation of awareness in people regarding fluorosis and restriction of usage of fluoride-contaminated irrigation water.


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