Fluor is an element abundant in nature. In the right quantities, it is essential for the development of teeth and bones. However, under specific conditions, the concentration of fluoride (F) in ground and surface water can exceed safety levels and becomes toxic for human health. This may lead to skeletal and/or dental fluorosis, two chronic biogeochemical diseases that occur in various countries around the world.
According to UNESCO, more than 200 million people worldwide rely on drinking water with fluoride levels exceeding the present World Health Organization (WHO) norm of 1.5 mg/l. The Ethiopian Central Rift Valley (ECRV) is one of the most affected areas with an estimated 8 million people potentially at risk of fluorosis. Due to its geology and climate, it suffers from some of world’s highest concentrations of fluoride, mainly in deep wells in the semi-arid parts.
In this webinar held on May 02, 2014, Dr Seifu Kebede (Addis Ababa University) sketched out the occurrence of Fluor in Ethiopian aquifers, and what therefore are the big risk factors and appropriate prevention/mitigation methods. Sara Datturi (MetaMeta) presented an overview of measures employed to minimize fluoride intake by Ethiopian Central Rift Valley communities who have little choice but to use Fluoride-rich groundwater sources for their water supply. The speakers also discussed these topics further in reponse to questions put forward by the audience.
Part 1: Dr Seifu Kebede- Genesis of Fluoride in Groundwater in Ethiopia
Part 2: Sara Datturi- Fluorosis Mitigation in Ethiopian Central Rift Valley
Part 3: Q and A session