Community Success Stories

Improving the community's health and well-being by providing fluoride-free water


The villages of Jamui, Shekhpura, Nawada, Bhagalpur, and Araria districts of Bihar populated by Scheduled Caste community are endemic to fluorosis. The condition is experienced due to long-term exposure to toxic levels of fluoride. Due to the restricted movement of the daily wages-based laborer, women and children are continually exposed to the toxic level of fluoride contaminated water. Due to the poor socio-economic condition, anemia, malnutrition, neurological deficiencies and skeletal and dental fluorosis are rampant in this community. The initiative to install water filters in these regions was undertaken to improve the health status of the community.

The designed community-based water filters are installed in the existing hand pumps and don’t require electricity. These filters are efficient enough to filter up to 10 ppm of fluoride. Due to poverty, they don’t have a good intake of food. Thus, fluorosis mitigation is carried out through intervention, advising on food i.e., diet editing and providing the antioxidants and multivitamins. Continuous urine analysis, water analysis and other health parameters are analyzed to monitor the health status of the community. Earlier underweight childbirth was common but now improvement is being observed.

We could convince these people that the water that they are consuming is the culprit and if we can replace the contaminated water with fluoride-free water then all the problems that they have been suffering for generations could be resolved. With the interventions they have started experiencing the benefits and improvement in their health’, said Mr. Jayant Kumar, the technology implementer.

The consumption of fluoride-free water has resulted in reduced joint pain, neck pain and overall health benefits; community members can now work for more hours, generate extra revenue and improve their socioeconomic status. With the cooperation observed at the community level, a sustainable model has been developed and long-term benefits can be experienced by future generations of the community.

‘We used to have a lot of back pain before the water filters were installed. Following the installation of the water filters, the intake of fluoride-free water has improved our health, and we no longer experience joint pain, neck pain, or back pain. We are now able to do more work because of our improved condition’, said Mr. Sudeep Kumar Yadav.

Principal Investigator: Prof. A Shariff

Contact info:  

Implementing Agency: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi

Funding Agency: Department of Science and Technology (DST)