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Fluoride fears
Beware the water
Following on from the recent announcement regarding ongoing high levels of fluoride in water in north Tenerife several experts have made their opinion known.

18.08.2013 -

The problem hit the news when the Public Health Department recommended restrictions in 14 different boroughs.  However, according to an official report from the La Laguna University and the Canarian Technology Institute in conjunction with the Canarian government it was back in 1984 when the problem was first recognised.

The current restrictions have been in place since June 4, but did not hit the press until much later.  According to the report in El Da, it has been recommended that residents of Buenavista, Garachico, El Tanque, Icod and the Silense area of Erjos should not use the water for drinking or cooking, and in La Guancha, San Juan de la Rambla and La Matanza de Acentejo, as well as certain areas in Santa rsula, La Victoria, El Sauzal, Tacoronte, La Laguna and Tegueste it is recommended the water isnt used for children under the age of eight.

Several of the mayors of these areas were quick to admit there is an ongoing problem, but that it isnt as serious as made out.  Yet many of the north Tenerife supplies have apparently been found to contain around three milligrams of fluoride per litre, despite the level recommended by the World Health Organisation being 1.5 per litre, except in regions like ours where greater quantities of water are drunk.

Regardless of any reassurances, the main concern at the moment is for dental health.  Although a limited amount of fluoride is said to prevent cavities, the Tenerife Dentists Association admitted that excessive amounts can cause discoloration, particularly in children, and be detrimental to tooth enamel, encouraging greater tooth decay a process called Dental fluorosis.  However, many scientists on a global level are becoming increasingly concerned about the rising incidence of Skeletal fluorosis also caused by excessive fluoride - which causes damage to bones and joints.

Medical Engineer Juan Carlos Santamarta from La Laguna University has proposed a double-action plan to mix the present water supply with water with much lower levels, whilst also creating a system where natural reservoirs found to contain high amounts of fluoride are left untouched so levels can balance out naturally. 

Speaking in an interview with Europa Press at the presentation of his latest book Hydrology and Water Resources in Islands and Volcanic Areas, Santamarta stressed that it is the depth from which the water is being extracted from the aquifers on Tenerife that is causing the problem the deeper the extraction, the greater the possibility of high quantities of fluoride and other minerals.

He also stated that fluoride is an extremely difficult substance to remove from water using conventional treatments.  An inverse osmosis system is required to have any real effect, something that would raise the cost of supplies, enormously.

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