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The first case of endemic fluorosis in humans from India was reported by Short et al. from Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh in 1937. In 1950 only our states in India - Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh were identified with people suffering from fluorosis. By 1986, 13 states were found as endemic for fluorosis and during 1990-92, two additional states, i.e. Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir had also joined the list. A report published by Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission, identified 14 states and Delhi as endemic for fluorosis. It was also mentioned in the report that in West Bengal (WB) and the seven northern hill states, the disease was not detected yet. However, the groundwater fluoride contamination and sufferings of people from Birbhum district of West Bengal and Karbi-Anglong district of Assam have come to light. In West Bengal elevated levels of fluoride underground water from Bardhaman, Bankura and Purulia districts were also reported. Presently we have in record 17 states in India, which are endemic for fluorosis. Susheela has also reported the present overall status of groundwater fluoride contamination and the sufferings of the people in India. It is stated, 'an estimated 62 million people in India in 17 out of 32 states are affected with dental, skeletal / or non-skeletal fluorosis'.

Fluorosis in Assam - India. D. Chakraborti, C.R. Chanda, G. Samanta, U. K. Chowdhury, S.C. Mukherjee, A.B. Pal, B. Sharma, K.J. Mahanta, H.A. Ahmed and B. Sing. Current Science, 78(12), 1421-1423, 2000.

Fluoride contaminated supplied water and sufferings of people

For more than last 20 years the people of Karbi-Anglong and Nagaon districts in Assam are suffering from a crippling disease caused by drinking fluoride contaminated groundwater. And although one of the public water supply schemes in Karbi-Anglong is supplying water containing fluoride as high as 15 mg/l, the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission reports that disease has not been detected in any of the seven northeastern hill states.

Out of the 29 countries known to have excess fluoride in drinking water (Figure-1) the numbe of people suffering from fluorosis in India is the highest in the world, and, with time, the number is increasing rapidly.