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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


CUELLAR LUNA, Liliam  and  GARCIA MELIAN, Maricel. Fluoride in drinking water in Cuba and its association with geological and geographical variables. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.14, n.5, pp.341-349. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between different concentrations of the fluoride ion in drinking water and some geological and geographical variables in Cuba, by using a geographic information system. METHODS: From November 1998 to October 1999 we studied the fluoride concentration in the sources of drinking water for 753 Cuban localities that had at least 1 000 inhabitants. For the information analysis we utilized the MapInfo Professional version 5.5 geographic information system, using the overlaying method. The study variables were the concentration of the fluoride ion in the water sources, the geological characteristics of the area, the alignments (geological characteristics that were found together), the types of water sources, and whether an area was a plain or mountainous. The results were grouped by locality and municipality. RESULTS: In 83.1% of the localities, the water samples were collected from wells and springs, and the remaining 16.9% came from dams and rivers. Of the 753 localities studied, 675 of them (89.6%) had low or medium fluoride concentrations (under 0.7 mg/L). The eastern region of the country was the one most affected by high fluoride concentrations in the waters, followed by the central region of the country. The majority of the localities with high natural fluoride concentrations were in areas located on Cretaceous volcanic arc rocks. The presence of fluoride in the drinking waters was related to the alignments with the earth's crust, in rock complexes of volcanic-sedimentary origin and of intrusive origin and also in carbonate rocks. However, the highest fluoride concentrations generally coincided with rock complexes of volcanic-sedimentary origin and of intrusive origin. All the localities with high fluoride concentrations in the water were associated with wells. CONCLUSIONS: The fluoride concentration is low or medium in the drinking water sources for 89.6% of the Cuban localities with at least 1 000 inhabitants. Geological and geographical characteristics can help identify areas with optimal or high concentrations of the fluoride ion in the drinking water.

Keywords : Caries dental; fluoruración; geología; Cuba.

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