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Submit report on fluoride contamination : NHRC to govt

Taking suo motu cognisance of reports of drinking water containing fluoride above permissible levels in 19 states, the apex panel of human rights has sought detailed presentation from the concerned ministries. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken note of Health Ministry’s report that potable water in 14,132 habitations has higher level of fluoride due to which a huge population was at risk of a very serious health condition such as skeletal fluorosis.

Given the fact that fluoride contamination causes lot of diseases, the ministry has urged the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to ensure the supply of safe drinking water in these habitats. The fluoride contaminated water affects the teeth and bones and long-term excessive exposure causes abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea, vomiting, seizures and muscle spasms.

The Commission has observed that the content of the press report is serious as it affects the citizens’ Right to Health.  It has asked the Secretary, Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to make a presentation on the February  9, 2015 before it on the gravity of the problem and the steps taken by the Central and various State Governments to combat it.

According to the media report, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation data (Rajasthan) has the highest number of such habitations (7,670), affecting 48.84 lakh people, while Telangana has 1,174 such districts with 19.23 lakh affected people. The report stated that Karnataka has 1,122 such habitation and Madhya Pradesh has 1,055 habitations. Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh too face the problem, the report stated.
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