Nearly 14,000 habitations in 17 states reported to have excess fluoride in drinking water sources, affecting more than 1.14 crore people, Rajya Sabha was informed today.
According to the World Health Organisation, ingestion of excess fluoride, most commonly in drinking-water, can cause fluorosis which affects the teeth and bones.
Moderate amounts lead to dental effects, but long-term ingestion of large amounts can lead to potentially severe skeletal problems, WHO says.
At 6,855, the maximum cases have been reported from Rajasthan, followed by 1,087 cases from Bihar, 1,065 from Karnataka and 1,064 from West Bengal, Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
“As on July 20, the problem of excess fluoride in rural drinking water sources is reported by 17 states in 13,949 habitations,” he said.
The minister said 1.14 crore people are at risk due to presence of excess fluoride in water.
Rural drinking water is a state subject. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation assists the states in providing safe drinking water in rural areas through centrally sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).
As per the plan of the Ministry, 90 per cent of the rural population would be provided with safe drinking water by 2020 through surface water based piped supply schemes, he said.
In a separate reply, the minister said that during 2015-16, an amount of Rs 4,268.58 crore has been provided to the states under NRDWP. While in 2016-17, Rs 1986.66 crore has been released to the states in first instalment in April-May.