Excessive water Fluoride in some northern areas of Pakistan
The WHO’s recently published monograph that reported the levels of fluoride in the said areas as ranging between 8 and 13.52 mg l–1 which exceeds the permissible limit (1.5 mg kg–1) set by the WHO.
The WHO’s recently published monograph “Fluoride in Drinking Water” cites a study conducted in 2003 by Mohammad Tahir Shah of National Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar and Suhab Danishwar of Department of Environmental Sciences, Roosevelt University, USA, that reported the levels of fluoride in the said areas as ranging between 8 and 13.52 mg l–1 which exceeds the permissible limit (1.5 mg kg–1) set by the WHO.
This study explored the source of fluoride contamination and attributed it to the alkaline rocks of the Ambela granitic complex and the Koga complex, stating that the low-lying areas towards the south have fluoride content within the permissible limit. The study also stressed that the Naranji area needs urgent remedial measures.
The WHO report also referred to the incidences in the year 2000 whereby villages around the Lahore and Kasur area, including Manga Mandi, Kalalnawala, Kot Asadullah and Shamki Bhattian, were reported to have been severely affected by skeletal fluorosis with hundreds of people, especially children being crippled for life.
The excessively high levels of fluoride in the drinking water in these areas and the subsequent skeletal fluorosis, was blamed on industrial units in the vicinity pumping waste into open areas for years.
A drinking water analysis conducted then by the Pakistan Council for Science and Industrial Research (PCSIR) showed that samples collected from the area contained fluoride content ranging from 5.26 to 26.32 mg per liter. "This is way too high as compared to the WHO’s standard of 0.6 to 1.7 milligram per liter," Afia Ashraf, director of PCSIR's environment lab in Lahore was quoted by Environmental News Network (ENN). She had opined that the absorption of fluoride in drinking water could have been triggered by the acidification of aquifers around the factories
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