Impact of Fluoride
Increased levels of fluoride in the water can lead to an array of health complications which can ultimately decrease the quality of life. Members of villages in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to sustainable clean water, especially in close proximity to their homes. This lack of water subjects the women and children to stronger effects from the water crisis, as they are the ones who walk miles every day to bring water to their village. The walk for water itself can be fatal and once at the water source, they aren’t even able to collect clean drinking water.
Fluoride is a mineral contaminant in groundwater that can lead to tooth decay and weakened bones. When the intake of fluoride is too high, teeth can form white or brown stains on them and eventually break or completely fall out. Complications like these not only alter their confidence, but also can limit what they are able to eat. Significant changes in the ability to eat can lead to malnutrition, decreasing the quality of life.
Another complication that comes from toxic fluoride levels is skeletal fluorosis, which causes weak bones. Weakened bones lead to difficulties walking as the bones begin to bow, similar to the effects of rickets. These affects are debilitating and can cause an array of issues in their livelihood. Bowed legs make walking difficult, which makes the walk for water that much harder.
Villages in Africa are crippled with this disease as a majority of the children suffer from these complications. This passes the burden of collecting water onto those who are less affected. Below are some images of the devastating effects of toxic levels of fluoride:
X- ray of weakened bones due to skeletal fluorosis. This condition causes bones to bow, which severely complicates movement.
This young child suffers from skeletal fluorosis, whose legs are bowed out due to disfigured bone structure.
“Fluorosis is a preventable crippling disease.”- K A Krishnamachari
Fluorosis may be a preventable complication, but it is not curable. There is no known treatment to reverse the effects of fluorosis. The only way to stop this issue, is to remove the fluoride from the water before drinking. Prevention can only occur if fluoride is removed from the water source. To do this, a filter must be used to remove the impurities from water. Filters can be fairly expensive and difficult to maintain without proper instruction. Without the ability to access clean water, this issue continues and can be devastating to communities.
Village of Lemanda
In her recent travels to Tanzania, our director Susanne Wilson visited the village of Lemanda in Oldonyosambu where fluorosis is very common among its residents. The village is located in the Rift Valley and reports significantly increased levels of fluoride in their drinking water. The presence of fluorosis among its residents is extremely high, affecting most of the individuals there.
As fluorosis devastates this region, it complicates the ability of residents to walk long distances to find water and bring enough back to support their families and villages. Water is essential in our lives and not having access to it can significantly alter the livelihoods of these individuals.
Villages like these are why Water to Thrive works so hard to bring clean water to these people. Those who have already been affected by fluoride won’t be able to reverse the complications, but this clean water can offer the next generation a chance for better health.
To watch the video of how fluoride impacts this community, here is the link: https://youtu.be/s0GEaILYwew
Water to Thrive
Water to Thrive’s mission is to bring clean and sustainable water wells to these villages that lack access. Being able to build these wells significantly alters the livelihood of the members of the village especially women and children. The women and children that used to have to walk miles to find water, now have accessible water that is pure and free of contaminants.
Children are able to spend their time going to school and playing in the villages, changing the outlook for their future. Clean water not only allows these people to be healthier, but it also gives them freedom to spend their days how they would like and work to help change their outlook on life.
Take Home Message
For us, clean water is always there when we need it, but imagine waking up and not being able to brush your teeth, make your pot of coffee, or even drink a tall glass of cold water. Take just a moment of your day to think about how vital water is to your life and all that you need water for. The cost of clean water to us is just a small number but to bring joy and health to so many people is priceless.
I implore you to think for a few minutes of your day and think about how different your life would be today if every day there was a struggle for water. Think about how you use water every day, even take a guess at how much water you use in just a day for your necessities. I would love to hear your thoughts about fluoride contamination and answer any further questions you may have. Reach out to us through our socials or leave a comment with your thoughts![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]