A characterization of groundwater fluoride, influencing factors and risk to human health in the southwest plain of Shandong Province, North China

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2021 Jan 1:207:111512. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.111512. Epub 2020 Oct 29.


This study investigated 324 groundwater samples collected from the southwest plain of Shandong Province during the dry and wet seasons. Groundwater fluoride in the study area and the influencing factors were characterized and discussed using statistical analysis, ion ratios, Piper diagrams, the saturation index (SI) and ArcGIS software. In addition, the risk posed by groundwater fluoride to human health was assessed. The results showed that groundwater in the study area had elevated fluoride concentrations, with average dry and wet season concentrations of 1.15 mg·L-1 and 1.08 mg·L-1, respectively. Groundwater fluoride showed consistent spatial variations during the dry and wet seasons, with a significant regionalization pattern of low concentrations in the east and high concentrations in the west. Groundwater F- was significantly negatively correlated with Ca2+ and positively correlated with pH, HCO3- and Na+. Important factors identified as having an effect on groundwater F- in the study area included the balance of dissolution of fluorite and calcite, the weakly alkaline environment and cation exchange. In addition, hydrochemical types of high-fluoride groundwater in the study area were identified as mainly HCO3-Na and SO4·Cl-Na. The assessment of the risk of high groundwater fluoride to human health showed that children are more at risk compared to adults, with the risk during the dry season exceeding that over the wet season. It is recommended that water quality management in the study area prioritize the formulation of measures to mitigate high concentrations of fluoride in groundwater .

Keywords: Controlling factors; Distribution characteristics; Fluoride; Groundwater; Health risk assessment; Southwest plain of Shandong province.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calcium Carbonate / chemistry
  • Child
  • China
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Fluorides / analysis*
  • Groundwater / chemistry
  • Health
  • Humans
  • Minerals / analysis
  • Sodium / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Quality


  • Minerals
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Sodium
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Fluorides