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International Journal of Scientific Research in Agricultural Sciences, 1(6), pp.

110-117, 2014
Available online at http://www.ijsrpub.com/ijsras
ISSN: 2345-6795; 2014 IJSRPUB
http://dx.doi.org/10.12983/ijsras-2014-p0110-0117


110
Full Length Research Paper

Fluoride Toxicity and its Distribution in Groundwater of South East Part of Nagaur
District, Rajasthan, India

Mohammed Arif
1*
, Jakir Hussain
2
, Ikbal Husain
3
, Sudesh Kumar
1


1
Department of Chemistry, Banasthali University, Niwai, District-Tonk- 304022, Rajasthan, India
2
National River Water Quality Laboratory, Central Water Commission, New Delhi 110016, India
3
Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Laboratory, Bhilwara- 311 001, Rajasthan, India
*Corresponding Author: dr.arifmohammed@gmail.com

Received 06 May 2014; Accepted 30 July 2014

Abstract. Fluoride (F

) is essential for normal bone growth, but its higher concentration in the drinking water poses great
health problems like fluorosis in many parts of India. The present paper deals to identify fluoride content in groundwater of
Makrana tehsil in Nagaur district, Rajasthan. The samples were collected from manually operated hand pumps of privately
owned or from hand pumps established by government of Rajasthan in residential localities of studied habitations. Fluoride
concentration of groundwater samples from fifty six villages of Makrana tehsil was monitored and forty six villages were
found to have a fluoride concentration above 1.5 mg/l. The maximum fluoride concentration (9.27 mg/l) was recorded in
groundwater of the Chakrani Gaon, while minimum (0.29 mg/l) was recorded in Kacholiya. As per the desirable and maximum
permissible limit for fluoride in drinking water, recommended by the WHO and BIS, the groundwater of about forty six
villages is unfit for drinking purpose.

Keywords: Fluoride, Fluorosis, Groundwater, Makrana tehsil, Rajasthan, Toxicology

1. INTRODUCTION

Fluorine is the 13
th
most abundant naturally occurring
element in the Earths crust and is the lightest member
of the halogens. It is the most electronegative and
reactive of all elements, and is present as fluoride in
drinking water. It occurs as fluoride naturally in soils
and natural waters due to chemical weathering of
some fluoride containing minerals (Hussain et al.,
2010). Fluoride in small amounts is an essential
component for protection against dental caries without
causing fluorosis, particularly among children. On the
other hand due to its strong electro-negativity, fluoride
is attracted by positively charged calcium ions in teeth
and bones and hence excessive intake can results in
pathological changes in teeth and bones, such as
mottling of teeth or dental fluorosis followed by
skeletal fluorosis (Brouwer et al. 1988; Hussain et al.
2004). Groundwater is a major source of human
intake of fluoride, including its subsequent
incorporation into food items. The main source of
fluoride in groundwater is considered to be fluoride-
bearing minerals such as fluorspar (CaF
2
), fluorapatite
[Ca
5
(PO
4
)
3
F], cryolite, and hydroxylapatite in rocks.
In Rajasthan, availability of safe and potable water
is still low for a majority of rural population residing
in 18 districts, where the main source of drinking
water is the groundwater in the form of open wells,
tube wells, hand pumps, etc., having high fluoride
content as compared to water from surface source.
Certain edibles, e.g., tea, betal, tobacco, etc. also
contain sufficient amount of fluoride which is
absorbed in the body through gastrointestinal tract,
further aggravating the problem. It is estimated that an
average adult may ingest 810 mg fluoride daily from
drinking water (Hussain et al. 2003, 2004; Whitford
1997). The state Rajasthan is known as a desert state
with acute water crisis. Since many pockets were
identified as fluoride affected belts (Arif et al., 2011,
2012 a,b, 2013a,b,c and 2014; Hussain et al., 2000,
2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2012; Sharma et
al., 2007; Choubisa et al., 2001). The selected part for
this study is situated in central part of the state where
groundwater is a major source of drinking water. The
survey for availability as well as for quality of
drinking water are being undertaken for remaining
areas of the state such as Makrana tehsil of Nagaur
district, no studies have been undertaken yet in this
area with regard to fluoride and fluorosis problem.
So the objective of this study was to investigate the
quality of drinking water (groundwater) with special
reference to the concentration of fluoride in most rural
Arif et al.
Fluoride Toxicity and its Distribution in Groundwater of South East Part of Nagaur District, Rajasthan, India
111
habitations of south east part of Nagaur District,
Rajasthan, India. This survey of fluoride level in
drinking water may help in identification and
reporting of sensitive areas to endemic fluorosis in
Rajasthan, India.

1.1. Global and Indian Scenario

1.1.1. International Status

The problem of excessive fluoride in drinking water
has engulfed many parts of the world, and today many
millions of people rely on groundwater with
concentrations above the World Health Organization
guideline value (WHO, 1996). There are >20
developed and developing nations in which fluorosis
is endemic (Ayoob & Gupta, 2006). High fluoride
concentrations in groundwater are also found in the
USA, Africa, and Asia (Azbar & Turkman, 2000).
The most severe problem associated with high
fluoride waters occurs in China (Wang et al., 2002),
India (Agarwal et al., 2003), Sri Lanka and Rift
Valley countries in Africa. High fluoride ground
waters have been studied in detail in Africa, in
particular in Kenya and Tanzania (Moturi et al.,
2002). In the early 1980s, it was estimated that 260
million people worldwide (in 30 countries) were
drinking water with >1 mg/L of fluoride.

Table 1: Districts showing fluoride concentration >1.5 mg/L in groundwater of India (Sneha et al., 2012)
State District Range
Assam Goalpara, Kamrup, Karbi Anglong, and Nagaon 1.45 -7.8
Andhra
Pradesh
Adilabad, Anantpur, Chittoor, Guntur, Hyderabad, Karimnagar, Khammam,
Krishna, Kurnool, Mahbubnagar, Medak, and Nalgonda
1.8 - 8.4
Bihar
Aurangabad, Banka, Buxar, Jamui, Kaimur(Bhabua), Munger, Nawada, Rohtas, and
Supaul
1.7 - 2.85
Chhattisgarh
Bastar, Bilaspur, Dantewada, Janjgir-Champa, Jashpur, Kanker, Korba, Koriya,
Mahasamund, Raipur, Rajnandgaon, and Surguja
1.5 - 2.7
Delhi
East Delhi, North West Delhi, South Delhi, South West Delhi, West Delhi,
Kanjhwala, Najafgarh, and Alipur
1.57 - 6.10
Gujarat
Ahmadabad, Amreli, Anand, Banaskantha, Bharuch, Bhavnagar, Dohad, Junagadh,
Kachchh, Mehsana, Narmada, Panchmahals, Patan, Rajkot, Sabarkantha, Surat,
Surendranagar, and Vadodara
1.6 - 6.8
Haryana
Bhiwani, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Hissar, Jhajjar, Jind, Kaithal, Kurushetra,
Mahendragarh, Panipat, Rewari, Rohtak, Sirsa, and Sonepat
1.5 - 17
Jammu and
Kashmir
Doda, Rajauri, and Udhampur 2.0 - 4.21
Karnataka
Bagalkot, Bangalore, Belgaun, Bellary, Bidar, Bijapur, Chamarajanagar,
Chikmagalur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Dharwad, Gadag, Gulburga, Haveri, Kolar,
Koppal, Mandya, Mysore, Raichur, and Tumkur
1.5 - 4.4
Kerala Palakkad, Palghat, Allepy, Vamanapuram, and Alappuzha 2.5 - 5.7
Maharashtra Amravati, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gadchiroli, Gondia, Jalna, Nagpur, and Nanded 1.51 - 4.01
Madhya
Pradesh
Bhind, Chhatarpur, Chhindwara, Datia, Dewas, Dhar, Guna, Gwalior, Harda,
Jabalpur, Jhabua, Khargaon, Mandsaur, Rajgarh, Satna, Seoni, Shajapur, Sheopur,
and Sidhi
1.5 -10.7
Orissa
Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Bandh, Cuttack, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Jajpur,
Keonjhar, and Sonapur
1.52 - 5.2
Punjab
Amritsar, Bhatinda, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Firozepur, Gurdaspur, Mansa,
Moga, Muktsar, Patiala, and Sangrur
0.44 - 6.0
Rajasthan
Ajmer, Alwar, Banaswara, Barmer, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Bundi,
Chittaurgarh, Churu, Dausa, Dhaulpur, Dungarpur, Ganganagar, Hanuman-garh,
Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jalor, Jhunjhunun, Jodhpur, Karauli, Kota, Nagaur, Pali,
Rajsamand, Sirohi, Sikar, SawaiMadhopur, Tonk, and Udaipur
1.54 -11.3
Tamilnadu
Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Dindigul, Erode, Karur, Krishnagiri, Namakkal,
Perambalur, Puddukotai, Ramanathapuram, Salem, Sivaganga, Theni,
Thiruvannamalai, Tiruchirapally, Vellore, and Virudhunagar
1.5 - 3.8
Uttar Pradesh
Agra, Aligarh, Etah, Firozabad, Jaunpur, Kannauj, Mahamaya Nagar, Mainpuri,
Mathura, and Mau
1.5 - 3.11
West Bengal
Bankura, Bardhaman, Birbhum, Dakshindinajpur, Malda, Nadia, Purulia, and
Uttardinajpur
1.5 - 9.1

International Journal of Scientific Research in Agricultural Sciences, 1(6), pp. 110-117, 2014

112
Table 2: USPHS recommendation for maximum allowed fluoride in drinking water (USPHS 1962)
Annual average of maximum
daily air temperature (
0
C)
Recommended fluoride
concentration (mg/L)
Maximum allowable fluoride
concentration (mg/L)
Lower Optimum Upper
1012 0.9 1.2 1.7 2.4
12.114.6 0.8 1.1 1.5 2.2
14.717.7 0.8 1 1.3 2
17.821.4 0.7 0.9 1.2 1.8
21.526.2 0.7 0.8 1 1.6
26.332.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 1.4

1.1.2. Current Status in India

In India, fluoride was first detected in drinking water
at Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh in 1937 (Ayoob
& Gupta, 2006). Since then, considerable work has
been done in different parts of India to explore the
fluoride-laden water sources. At present, it has been
estimated that fluorosis is prevalent in 17 states of
India, indicating that endemic fluorosis is one of the
most alarming public health problem of the country,
especially in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh. At
present, in India, endemic fluorosis is thought to affect
1 million people (Sneha et al., 2012). Districts known
to be endemic for fluoride in various states of India
and the ranges of fluoride in drinking water are given
in Table 1.

1.2. Guidelines and Standards

According to WHO guidelines for drinking water, a
fluoride level of 1.5 mg/L is the desirable upper limit.
India reduced the upper limit of fluoride in drinking
water from 1.5 to 1.0 mg/L with a rider that less is
better (BIS 10500, 2012). This is due to extremes in
climatic conditions and the diet being deficient in
essential nutrients (calcium, vitamins C, E and
antioxidants) in the rural communities of India. So,
Indian Standards the maximum desirable limit of
fluoride in drinking water is 1.0 mg/L and maximum
permissible limit 1.5 mg/L. As the amount of water
consumed and consequently the amount of fluoride
ingested is influenced primarily by air temperature,
USPHS (1962) has set a range of concentrations for
maximum allowable fluoride in drinking water for
communities based on the climatic conditions as
shown in table 2.

2. MATERIALS AND METHODS

2.1. Study Area

Rajasthan is located in the northwest of India. It
encompasses most of the area of the large,
inhospitable Great Indian Desert (Thar Desert), which
has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley
along its border with Pakistan. The state is bordered
by Pakistan to the west, Gujarat to the
southwest, Madhya Pradesh to the Southeast, Uttar
Pradesh and Haryana to the northeast and Punjab to
the north. Rajasthan covers 10.4% of India, an area of
342,269 square kilometres (132,151 sq mi). Rajasthan
is one of the states in the country where a higher level
of fluoride is reported because groundwater is the
major source of drinking water in both urban and rural
India. Since the presence of fluoride-bearing minerals
in host rocks and their interaction with water is
considered to be the main cause of fluoride
contamination in groundwater.
Makrana is famous for the white stone as marble
mined from the mines around it. Makrana is located
at 27.05N 74.72E. It has an average elevation of
408 metres (1338 feet). The total population of
Makrana is 291,524 (Census, 2001).the study area is
shown in fig. 1.

2.2. Water sample collection

Groundwater samples of fifty six villages located in
Makrana tehsil of Nagaur district were collected in pre
cleaned polythene bottles with necessary precautions
(Brown et al., 1974). The samples were collected, in
year 2014, from manually operated public hand
pumps and public walls in residential localities of
studied habitations.

2.3. Methodology

The fluoride concentration in water was determined
electrochemically, using fluoride in selective electrode
(APHA 2012). This method is applicable to the
measurement of fluoride in drinking water in the
concentration range of 0.011,000 mg/L. The
electrode used was an Orion fluoride electrode,
coupled to an Orion Ion meter. Standards fluoride
solutions (0.110 mg/L) were prepared from a stock
solution (100 mg/L) of sodium fluoride. As per
experimental requirement, 1 ml of Total Ionic strength
Adjusting Buffer Grade III (TISAB III) was added in
10 ml of sample. The ion meter was calibrated for a
slop of 59.2 2 (APHA 2012). The composition of
TISAB solution was as 385.4 gm ammonium acetate,
Arif et al.
Fluoride Toxicity and its Distribution in Groundwater of South East Part of Nagaur District, Rajasthan, India
113
17.3 gm of cyclohexylene diamine tetraacetic acid and
234 ml of concentrate hydrochloric acid per liter. All
the experiments were carried out in triplicate, and the
results were found reproducible with 2% error.


Fig. 1: Study Area

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

All habitations were categorised in following five
categories as proposed by Hussain et al., 2010 to
demonstrate the fluoride distribution:
(1) Category I: Fluoride concentration below 1.0
mg/l (Green)
(2) Category II: Fluoride concentration between
1.0 mg/l and 1.5 mg/l (Yellow)
(3) Category III: Fluoride concentration between
1.5 mg/l and 3.0 mg/l (Red)
(4) Category IV: Fluoride concentration between
3.0 mg/l and 5.0 mg/l (Brown)
(5) Category V: Fluoride concentration above 5.0
mg/l (Black)
International Journal of Scientific Research in Agricultural Sciences, 1(6), pp. 110-117, 2014
114

Fig. 2: No. of villages in Makrana tehsil by their category of fluoride concentration

Table 3: Categorization of fluoride concentration in villages of Makrana tehsil


The distribution of fluoride in ground water of
Makrana tehsil as per above categorization is shown
in figure 2. Table 3 shows the habitations with
fluoride concentration. During the study fifty six
water samples were monitored. The samples were
collected from public hand pumps, and public wells.
The fluoride concentration in Makrana tehsil of
Nagaur district ranges from 0.29 to 9.27 mg/l. The
maximum fluoride concentration was recorded 9.27
mg/l in the Chakrani Gaon, while the minimum 0.29
mg/l was recorded in Kacholiya.
Seven villages found in a category-I which is
below 1.0 mg/l. In these villages there are no
possibilities of any kind of fluorosis and this
concentration of fluoride is beneficial, for
calcification of dental enamel especially for children
under 10-year age. Three villages found in category II
which is between maximum desirable limit and the
maximum permissible limit as recommended by BIS
10,500: 2012).
Eighteen villages recorded in category III. In
twenty villages fluoride concentration in groundwater
is above 3.0 mg/l and below 5.0 mg/l and this fall in
category IV. In the entire study the eight villages fall
in category V. The most alarming condition for
fluorosis may seen in these villages. The water in
these villages (Category III, IV and V) is not suitable
for drinking purpose.
Arif et al.
Fluoride Toxicity and its Distribution in Groundwater of South East Part of Nagaur District, Rajasthan, India
115
As per the desirable and maximum permissible
limit for fluoride in drinking water determined by
WHO (1996) or by Bureau of Indian Standards
(2012), Forty six villages were found unfit for
drinking purposes. Moreover, dental and skeletal
fluorosis is at alarming stage in local resident of these
areas. According to Whiteford (1997) the 7590% of
ingested fluoride is absorbed. In an acidic stomach
fluoride in converted into hydrogen fluoride (HF) and
here up to 40% of the ingested in stomach and
remaining in intestine. Once absorbed into blood,
fluoride readily distributes throughout the body, with
approximately 99% of the body burden of fluoride
retained in calcium rich areas such as bones and teeth
(dentine and enamel) (WHO 1996). However, in
plasma, fluoride is transported as ionic fluoride and
non-ionic fluoride. Ionic fluoride does not bind to
plasma proteins, and is easily excreted with the urine.
However, in the form of HF, about 3545% is
reabsorbed and returned to the systemic circulation.
pH of tubular fluid and urinary flow are the main
factors which influence reabsorption (Whitford et al.,
1976). The amount of urinary fluoride excreted from
the body reflects the amount of fluoride ingested.
Brouwer et al. (1988) stated that fluoride is attracted
by positively charged calcium ions, due to its strong
electronegative charges, in teeth and bones and
therefore excessive intake of fluoride cause
pathological changes in teeth and bones. Although;
Public Health and Engineering Department
(Government of Rajasthan) has started to supply the
extracted groundwater, from electrically operated
bore-wells as drinking water, after mixing with
surface canal water into a suitable ratio, but still this
facility is not available in each habitation of the study
area.
The climate of this region is hot and dry. In
summer the temperature ranges in this area 1848C
so a higher ingestion of water is expected. Therefore,
the probability of fluorosis is increased in such areas
where mean of fluoride concentration in groundwater
are >3.0 mg/l. Thus, in this region there is an instant
need to warn the people against the risk of dental or
even skeletal fluorosis and people are advised to adopt
some techniques to defluoridation of ground water
before using it for drinking purposes. The reports on
village wise distribution of fluoride in drinking water
may help in implementation of health and water
supply scheme by the Central and State government.

4. CONCLUSION

Fluoride concentration of groundwater samples from
fifty six villages of Makrana tehsil was monitored and
forty six villages were found to have a fluoride
concentration above 1.5 mg/l. The maximum fluoride
concentration (9.27 mg/l) was recorded in
groundwater of the Chakrani Gaon, while minimum
(0.29 mg/l) was recorded in Kacholiya. As per the
desirable and maximum permissible limit for fluoride
in drinking water, recommended by the WHO and
BIS, the groundwater of about forty six villages is
unfit for drinking purpose.
Fluorosis is becoming a chronic problem in certain
parts of India and the arid regions of Rajasthan are
becoming particularly fluoride-prone areas. The
Government of Rajasthan has taken steps for an
external supply of drinking water to be provided for
those villages affected and the people are being
educated about the preventive methods through
awareness camps in the villages. Higher intakes, of
calcium-rich food and those foods rich in vitamin C
are suggested for those suffering from chronic skeletal
fluorosis. People in certain villages with significantly
high fluoride concentrations from the sub soil water
have been shifted to non-fluoride regions. Several
wells and hand pumps have been abandoned in
fluoride-prone villages in Rajasthan and the traditional
rainwater harvesting system for the purpose of
drinking and cooking is being encouraged in these
villages.

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Fluoride Toxicity and its Distribution in Groundwater of South East Part of Nagaur District, Rajasthan, India
117



Mohammed Arif is doing his research in Department of Chemistry, Banasthali University, Banasthali,
Rajasthan, India. He Completed his M. Sc. in Environment Science from Maharishi Dayanand
Saraswati University, Ajmer. He Published 20 research papers in International Journal and proceeding
of the conferences.






Dr Jakir Hussain is Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from Maharshi Dayanand
Saraswati University, Ajmer in year 2002. He is working as Head, of National River Water Quality,
Central Water Commission, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, New Delhi. He is
expert in Water resources management and river water quality monitoring, fluoride removal
techniques. He published 72 research papers in National and International repute journals and
proceeding of the conferences. Dr Hussain made significant contribution to the water quality of India
over the last 8 years. He is a regular faculty in the National Water Academy, Pune for deliver the
lectures on Water Quality.





Dr. Ikbal Husain is Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University,
Ajmer, Rajasthan (India) in year 2004. He is working as Head, District Laboratory, Public Health
Engineering Department, Government of Rajasthan, Bhilwara. He is expert in Integrated Water
Resource Management, Water quality monitoring, fluorosis and fluoride removal techniques, Water
treatment. He published 65 research papers in National and International journals and proceeding of
conferences.






Dr. Sudesh Kumar did MSc. PhD. From MDS University, Ajmer, Rajasthan. He is currently working
with Department of Chemistry, Banasthali University, Banasthali, Rajasthan, India. He Published 02
text book of engineering chemistry, 03 book chapters and several research papers with national and
International journal.