A large number of villagers in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri District have developed various physical deformities due to polluted drinking water. Most of the villagers here have deformed limbs besides suffering from cataract, and premature-ageing.
Villagers believe that the root cause of their problem is excessive fluoride content in the ground water used for drinking that ultimately causes fluorosis leading to deformities and tooth decay. "So many times people's hand, knees and joints swell up...Everyone's teeth have decayed and people say the reason is the excessive content of fluoride in the water," said Aatm Singh Rawat, a villager.
Villagers say that the fluoride treatment tanks set up to filter the water are non-operational most of the time. "Our village is affected by fluorosis. Doctors have said that it's because of the water. The (treatment) plants set up never work. Sometimes they work, usually for four to five days in six months and that too when some official is visiting the area," said Babu Lal Patel, another villager.
The concentration of fluoride in the water of Shivpuri District ranges from 1.50 to 6.40 mg per litre. The State Health authorities, say that efforts are on to contain the problem. R.S. Shrivastava, a Public Health official says he had received a letter from the district Public Health Department saying it is not true that flurosis is rampant in the six to seven villages.
Fluorosis is a condition caused by the excessive intake of fluorine and is commonly of two types - Skeletal Fluorosis and Dental Fluorosis.
As the names suggest Skeletal Fluorosis affects the bones due to excessive accumulation of fluoride in bones and the Dental Fluorosis affects the teeth from overexposure to fluoride.
Doctors say surgery is the only solution for fluorosis and that too after the fluoride content in the body has been brought down.