News / The Diaspora / The Homeland

America, Ethiopia view water with fluoride differently

By STAFF WRITER  JULY 11, 2015

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Ethiopia is working to get fluoride out of its water supplies to protect its citizens from dental fluorosis and bone deformation, according to news reports.

Nearly 14 million Ethiopians are believed to be suffering from fluoride exposure, which in addition to destroying teeth, also deforms bones and increases the risk of osteoporosis.

“Fluoride concentration along the Rift Valley belt is high in areas stretching from Afar state to Wolayta Dimitu in south Ethiopia, where its negative effect is more visible,” said Aweke Kebede (PhD), a nutrition researcher at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, speaking to World Bulletin.

In the United States however, fluoride is considered as a nutrient that prevents cavities, according to Natural News, a science-based natural health advocacy website. The levels of fluoride in Ethiopian water supplies, which come naturally from magma and other volcanic matter beneath the earth’s crust, are taken as optimal by U.S. standards where fluoride is intentionally added to water supplies.

“The amounts of fluoride found in [Ethiopia’s] water aren’t any higher than the maximum “safe” limit established by the U.S. government for American water supplies,” Natural News disclosed.

“Reports indicate that fluoride levels in Ethiopian water range from about 1.5 to 4 milligrams per liter (or parts per million), which falls within the range considered “safe” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is important to note, now recommends an ‘optimal’ fluoride level of 0.7 ppm, after recently revising the maximum amount of 1.2 ppm,” the website further stated.

Why such a contrast exists between the two nations’ treatment of the chemical is however not clear.

For Ethiopian authorities who started a campaign to provide fluoride-free water five years ago, the issue still remain one of their biggest challenges.

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