More than 400 vulnerable families receive fluoride filters in on-going project by top apparel exporter
As Sri Lanka marks National Water Safety Week (6th - 12th December), the country's single largest apparel exporter Brandix reports that it has distributed more than 400 low-maintenance fluoride filters to families in the North Central Province after a series of Health and Water Clinics to identify people at risk of renal failure due to poor quality drinking water.
More than 1,500 families in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Giritalé have been screened with blood tests and analysis of their drinking water over the past two and a half months at these clinics funded by Brandix under the Group's community initiative. A similar number will be screened in the months ahead as the programme continues, the company said.
Of the families already screened, more than 400 were found to be consuming water with a fluoride content of more than 0.8 mg/litre, and were provided with filters specially-designed by Sri Lankan scientist J. P. Padmasiri, to remove fluoride from water. Brandix bore the cost of the filters, and the water samples collected from the homes of the families screened were tested at the Brandix Water Research & Training Centre at Anuradhapura, a purpose-built training and laboratory complex dedicated to improving the quality of potable water in Sri Lanka's North Central Province.
"As a business group that has made access to safe drinking water its principal community project, Brandix is pleased to support governmental initiatives that have the same goal," said Anusha Alles, Head of CSR at Brandix. "Using our associates as a link to the communities in the vicinity of our manufacturing plants, we are able to safeguard and improve the living conditions of tens of thousands of people."
She said the blood samples taken by doctors and Medical Officers of Health (MOH) from the people already screened at the Brandix Health & Water Clinics had not to date found any persons with indications of Chronic Renal Failure. However, the drinking water of many families had fluoride content in excess of the 0.6 mg/litre deemed acceptable by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The filters provided by Brandix to these families were propagated a few years ago by the Water Resources Board with financial assistance from Brandix. Freshly burnt broken pieces of brick are used as a filter medium which had to be replaced every three months.