Hyderabad: The problem of fluorosis still affects Andhra Pradesh. According to the data provided by the states under the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), there are 7161 fluoride affected habitations in the country, out of which includes 261 habitations from Andhra Pradesh.
Fluorosis is a public health problem caused by excess intake of fluoride through drinking water/food products/industrial pollutants over a long period. Intake of excessive fluoride over a long period of time can have a detrimental impact on the teeth and bones.
However, the incidence of Fluorosis in Telangana has been recorded as nil. The number of fluoride affected habitations in Telangana had reduced from 131 habitations in the year 2014, to zero in 2019, as per data from DDWS.
The data further revealed that Andhra Pradesh has more than 10,000-suspected cases of dental fluorosis among children. Although this is less in comparison to other states which show larger presence of fluorosis among students, it highlights that fluoride presence in drinking water is still a grave issue.
Among all the states in the country, Karnataka showed the highest number of suspected cases of dental fluorosis among children, with more than 4 lakh cases. The south-Indian states is followed by West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, both of which showed more than 20,000 suspected cases of dental fluorosis.
In order to tackle the problem of fluorosis, the central government has come with the National Program for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) under the umbrella of National Health Mission (NHM). The program covers 19 states including 9 districts in Andhra Pradesh. The districts include Nellore, Guntur, Prakasam, Ananthapur, Kurnool, Krishna, Chittoor, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam, districts.
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation had launched the National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM) on March 22, 2017 under NRDWP to provide safe drinking water to 27,544 arsenic / fluoride affected rural habitations in the country. While 15.43 crores had been released for the state of Andhra Pradesh in the year 2017-18, 10.1 crores had been released in the year 2018-19.
However the last financial boost of Rs 1000 crore to various arsenic and fluoride affected states for installation of community water purification, was released in 2016.