The Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), thanks to its collaboration with the Vicente Ferrer Foundation (FVF) and the Canarian company Tagua S.L., will bring to India a technology to eliminate fluoride from water, a contaminant of geological origin present in groundwater. This system will be introduced in the Asian country, in the form of family-sized devices, thanks to an agreement signed this Thursday in Valencia.

The objective of this project is “to use this system based on zeolites, a volcanic mineral, as a filter to enable the eradication of a bone disease called fluorosis in the Asian country,” as reported by those responsible for the initiative in a statement.

The collaboration that will make it possible to transfer this research to India was made official this Thursday in Valencia with the signing of an agreement between researchers from the Institute of Catalysis and Petroleum Chemistry (ICP-CSIC) and representatives of the FVF and Tagua. The agreement includes carrying out a pilot test with family-sized devices that have this technology patented by the CSIC integrated, which has been successfully used since 2019 in rural areas of Ethiopia.

“Through this agreement, the CSIC brings to India a technology that in Ethiopia has already managed to enable access to drinking water. The objective is to establish scientific and technical collaboration to combat and try to eradicate fluorosis, a disease caused by excessive exposure to fluoride. The intake of highly fluoridated water affects many regions in the world and, very significantly, India,” said Rosa M. Blanco, one of the ICP-CSIC researchers who leads the project.

For her part, the general director of the FVF, Luz María Sanz, has indicated that this initiative “seeks to guarantee the consumption of clean and safe water to the rural communities of the Anantapur district and avoid the use of chemicals or systems that require expensive maintenance that can pose a cost to communities and a danger to the environment. “We will carry out a pilot test at the organization’s facilities located in the town of Kuderu and surrounding areas as it is an area with high fluoride contamination,” she highlighted.

The CEO of the company Tagua S.L., in charge of the commercial-scale manufacturing of small filters based on zeolites, Luis González, has detailed that “for the first time this technology will be introduced in India to combat the effects of the high presence of fluorides in drinking water, responsible for serious disabling diseases, with dental damage and bone malformations, which will be avoided from this moment on. Likewise, he has pointed out that this is “a first experience” that is approached “with satisfaction for the results it will provide to the population.”

Natural zeolites have a volcanic origin and have a microporous structure that can trap a wide variety of elements, such as sodium, potassium and magnesium, they explained. “Zeolites are a natural resource that has not been exploited due to the lack of scientific knowledge related to their applicability that could motivate their systematic exploitation,” added the deputy vice president of Internationalization and Cooperation of the CSIC and co-inventor of this technology, Isabel Díaz. .

This capacity allows zeolites to be applied in wastewater treatment, ammonia extraction, odor control, extraction of heavy metals from nuclear, mining and industrial waste, and even as animal feed. In Ethiopia, the technology patented by the CSIC goes further, since the material resulting from fluoride filtration is being used as agricultural fertilizer, the same sources have highlighted.