Background: In health terms, consuming fluoride is well recognised to be a double-edged sword. Consumption of optimal amounts is beneficial to health, however an excess constitutes a health hazard.
Objectives: To assess the prevalence of skeletal fluorosis in fishermen from the Kutch coast, Gujarat, India.
Materials and method: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted on 653 fishermen from the Kutch District, Gujarat, India, from October 2014 to December 2014. Clinical skeletal fluorosis was assessed using three diagnostic tests. Drinking water fluoride concentrations in different regions of the study area were determined. General information regarding age, gender and adverse habits were also collected. The Chi square test was used for comparisons and the confidence level and critical p-value were set at 95% and 5% respectively.
Results: Fluoride concentrations in water from the study area ranged between 3.4-6.9 ppm. The prevalence of skeletal fluorosis was 30.3%, out of which, the majority of the subjects had mild skeletal fluorosis (18.4%). This condition was found to be significantly associated with age and gender along with tobacco and alcohol consumption; depending on the habit's duration.
Conclusion: Being a public health problem in the fishermen community, skeletal fluorosis requires a-priori attention. Measures for preventing this disease should be undertaken on a communitywide basis.