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Article

‘Hidden Hot Springs’ as a Source of Groundwater Fluoride and Severe Dental Fluorosis in Malawi

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Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XJ, Scotland, UK
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Central Water Laboratory, Lilongwe P.O. Box 458, Malawi
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Smileawi, The Hollies Dental Practice, 143 Alexandra Parade, Dunoon, Argyll PA23 8AW, Scotland, UK
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Dental School, University of Glasgow, 378 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JZ, Scotland, UK
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Water Resources and Supply Department, The Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, Government of Malawi, Private Bag 390, Lilongwe, Malawi
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Francesco Sdao and Filomena Canora
Water 2021, 13(8), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081106
Received: 8 March 2021 / Revised: 9 April 2021 / Accepted: 14 April 2021 / Published: 17 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
Hidden hot springs likely impact rural water supplies in Malawi’s Rift Valley with excess dissolved fluoride leading to localised endemic severe dental fluorosis. Predicting their occurrence is a challenge; Malawi’s groundwater data archive is sporadic and incomplete which prevents the application of standard modelling techniques. A creative alternative method to predict hidden hot spring locations was developed using a synthesis of proxy indicators (geological, geochemical, dental) and is shown to be at least 75% effective. An exciting collaboration between geoscientists and dentists allowed corroboration of severe dental fluorosis with hydrogeological vulnerability. Thirteen hidden hot springs were identified based on synthesised proxy indicators. A vulnerability prediction map for the region was developed and is the first of its kind in Malawi. It allows improved groundwater fluoride prediction in Malawi’s rift basin which hosts the majority of hot springs. Moreover, it allows dentists to recognise geological control over community oral health. Collaborative efforts have proven mutually beneficial, allowing both disciplines to conduct targeted research to improve community wellbeing and health and inform policy development in their respective areas. This work contributes globally in developing nations where incomplete groundwater data and vulnerability to groundwater contamination from hydrothermal fluoride exist in tandem. View Full-Text
Keywords: fluoride; groundwater supply; hot springs; oral health; dental fluorosis; human health risk; rural community water supply; Malawi Rift Valley fluoride; groundwater supply; hot springs; oral health; dental fluorosis; human health risk; rural community water supply; Malawi Rift Valley
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MDPI and ACS Style

Addison, M.J.; Rivett, M.O.; Phiri, O.L.; Milne, N.; Milne, V.; McMahon, A.D.; Macpherson, L.M.D.; Bagg, J.; Conway, D.I.; Phiri, P.; Mbalame, E.; Manda, I.; Kalin, R.M. ‘Hidden Hot Springs’ as a Source of Groundwater Fluoride and Severe Dental Fluorosis in Malawi. Water 2021, 13, 1106. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081106

AMA Style

Addison MJ, Rivett MO, Phiri OL, Milne N, Milne V, McMahon AD, Macpherson LMD, Bagg J, Conway DI, Phiri P, Mbalame E, Manda I, Kalin RM. ‘Hidden Hot Springs’ as a Source of Groundwater Fluoride and Severe Dental Fluorosis in Malawi. Water. 2021; 13(8):1106. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081106

Chicago/Turabian Style

Addison, Marc J., Michael O. Rivett, Owen L. Phiri, Nigel Milne, Vicky Milne, Alex D. McMahon, Lorna M.D. Macpherson, Jeremy Bagg, David I. Conway, Peaches Phiri, Emma Mbalame, Innocent Manda, and Robert M. Kalin 2021. "‘Hidden Hot Springs’ as a Source of Groundwater Fluoride and Severe Dental Fluorosis in Malawi" Water 13, no. 8: 1106. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081106

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