Fluoride contamination of groundwater and health implications in Zango, Katsina State, Nigeria
The consumption of drinking water is the principal route of exposure to fluoride for human beings and other living things. Different living organisms are more or less sensitive to fluoride. It can affect their growth, activity, or survival above certain concentrations. This study presents the impact of fluoride in groundwater in Zango Local Government Area of Katsina State, Nigeria. Standard sampling and analytical methods were employed in the study. Results revealed that the alkaline pH and high bicarbonate are responsible for release of release of fluoride-bearing minerals into groundwater. The arid climate of the region, the granitic rocks and the low freshwater exchange due to periodical drought conditions are responsible for the higher incidence of fluorides in the groundwater resource. The people dependent on groundwater resources in the area are prone to dental fluorosis and mild skeletal fluorosis. Fluoride is both beneficial in strong teeth and bone formation (<1.5mg/l) and also damage both the teeth and bone that it helped in their formation if the concentration exceeds 1.5mg/l. Preventive measures, including education programmes to raise awareness on risks/detrimental effects that fluoride in groundwater has on health, multidisciplinary work and joint actions between health and water managers, are necessary to supply safe water to the population affected.
Keywords: Fluoride, fluorosis, groundwater, health impacts, Zango, Katsina