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Davis Shirtliff, has opened a water testing laboratory to help residents in Nairobi and other counties experiencing high levels of fluoride in the Greater Rift Valley to access safe water for drinking and cooking. The leading supplier of water and energy related solutions in the East Africa region said it has the capacity to deploy a variety of water treatment technologies to eliminate all the fluoride in the water or reduce the levels to the recommended standards of 1.5 milligram per litre of water.

“Initial analysis of data from water tests conducted from the Davis & Shirtliff water testing lab shows that water from most boreholes in the affected region require some form of treatment - from basic to advanced, to make it safe for human consumption. It is for this reason that we have opened our water testing laboratory as part of our value-add services to customers,” said Davis & Shirtliff Group Technical Director Eng. Philip Holi.

The findings corroborate data from various stakeholders in the water sector including the Ministry and NGOs working in WASH with official statistics showing that nearly 20 Million Kenyans ingest toxic levels of fluoride and suffer from effects of high concentration of the mineral in ground water.

“Research done on levels of water fluoride in Nairobi and its environs found that some of the borehole water had fluoride levels as high as 15mg/l which is 10 times the recommended level by WHO. Generally, borehole water in Nairobi, Rift Valley and their environs has been shown to have higher fluoride than that recommended

by WHO,” said Dr Ben Induswe, a paediatric dentist from the University of Nairobi who has conducted a study on the matter.

He added, “The Kenya National Oral Health survey of 2015 showed a dental fluorosis prevalence of 41.4% which means 2 in every five children you meet have dental fluorosis. This is not only alarming but disturbing.”

Several other studies done both in Kenya and outside the country have shown that when high water fluoride is taken it leads to skeletal fluorosis and also affects the developing brain. In the recent study in Kenya by Dr. Induswe, the results showed that children who took water with high fluoride and lived most of their lives in high fluoride areas had a lower intellectual efficiency and working memory in comparison to those in low fluoride areas and who took water with low fluoride. Fluoride is therefore neurotoxic, affects the dentition and the skeleton.

Davis & Shirtliff which offers both domestic and commercial water treatment solutions, said it has been deploying three technologies that allow for either removal of fluoride only or holistic removal of most dissolved minerals, including fluorides.

“At Davis & Shirtliff, we offer both alternatives. For selective removal of fluorides, D&S offers Nanofiltration, a membrane technology, or use of a granular fluoride removal filtration media (Indion RS-F). For water sources contaminated with not only fluoride but other dissolved minerals, the company deploys Reverse Osmosis as the technology of choice,” Holi said.

D&S also offers both domestic (undersink and tabletop) and commercial/industrial scale equipment for these solutions.

All the three methods, the company said can reduce the fluoride levels to standards recommended by the World Health Organization and Kenya Bureau of Standards, i.e., 1.5 milligrams per litre.

Water Resources Authority, WRA, mandates that all boreholes, upon drilling, must be subjected to water quality testing, with most labs providing recommendations in their water quality reports on the contaminants that exceed the prescribed limits hence require treatment.

“Unfortunately, most of these recommendations remain unactioned, resulting in the prevalence of fluoride-related health effects in the region,” Mr Holi added.

He called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders, including water sector players, dental and orthopaedic specialists, to create awareness on the adverse health effects resulting from consumption of excess fluoride.

The government through relevant regulatory bodies must also ensure that any ground water meant for distribution for the purpose of human consumption, directly or indirectly, meets the prescribed water quality standards.

“It’s only when a critical mass is aware of these effects that efforts to ensure widespread availability of fluoride-free water will gain the required traction,” he said.

Technology experts in the water sector have been challenged to develop and make available more affordable fluoride removal solutions to increase uptake of such solutions.



About Davis & Shirtliff

The Davis & Shirtliff Group is the leading supplier of water related equipment in the East African region. Founded in 1946, our business activities are focused on seven principal product sectors - Water Pumps, Boreholes, Swimming Pools, Water Treatment, Generators, Solar Equipment and Irrigation. The group is Kenyan based and operates through a network of Kenyan branches as well as regional subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, South Sudan, DRC, Zimbabwe and a partnership in Ethiopia. More information on

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