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New Device to Detect Low Fluoride in Water

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set 1.5 mg/litre as the maximum limit for fluoride in drinking water

Researchers have built a new device to accurately measure fluoride concentrations using only a few drops of water with even low contamination, finds a new study.

In India, low concentration of fluoride – below 1.5 mg/litre – is used to prevent tooth decay and strengthening of bones. But if it touches above 2 ppm it could cause serious health issues, like dental and bone disease, especially in children and developing foetuses.

That’s where the device – SION-105 – comes in. It’s portable, considerably cheaper than ones in use now, and can be used on-site by anyone. In addition, it is luminescent by default, but darkens when it encounters fluoride ions.

Measuring fluoride at low concentrations with sufficient accuracy is expensive and requires a well-equipped chemical lab.

australia, underwater
A man snorkels in an area called the “Coral Gardens” near Lady Elliot Island, on the Great Barrier Reef, off Queensland, Australia, June 11, 2015. Scientists recently found similar-looking coral reefs in much deeper water off Tasmania. VOA

Kyriakos Stylianou at EPFL Valais Wallis in Switzerland said SION-105 detects fluorides by adding only a few droplets of water and by monitoring the colour change of the metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).

The study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

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Adding fluoride to water has been a common practice in many countries, including the US, Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, India and Vietnam, especially in low concentrations – below 1.5 mg/litre.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set 1.5 mg/litre as the maximum limit for fluoride in drinking water. (IANS)

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