A Variance Decomposition Approach for Risk Assessment of Groundwater Quality

  • Deepak KumarEmail author
  • Anshuman Singh
  • Rishi Kumar Jha
  • Sunil Kumar Sahoo
  • Vivekanand Jha
S.I. : Drinking Water Quality and Public Health.


This research focuses on the assessment of fluoride doses in groundwater adopting the mathematical model employed by the USEPA. A total of 456 groundwater samples were tested to assess the spatial distribution of fluoride contamination in the study areas. Three age groups (children, teens and adults) were selected for two-way pathway exposure (potential dose and dermal dose) assessment. For uncertainty and sensitivity of inputs variables, a new emerging Sobol sensitivity analysis (SSA) technique was used to determine the relative importance of inputs using Monte Carlo simulation. Three types of effects, first-order effect (FOE), second-order effect (SOE) and total effect (TE) were calculated. The results showed that 96% of the samples analysed were within the standard acceptable level (1.5 mg l−1) of WHO guidelines. The spatial distribution depicts that the eastern and south-eastern parts of the study area have the higher concentrations with the few spots of elevated concentration in the middle of the north and the south-west areas. The mean value of Hazard Index for children in the study region is less than 1, whereas the 95th percentile exceeded the value of 1 for both children and teens. The FOE shows the concentration of fluoride (Cw) is highly sensitive followed by exposure frequency (EF), intake rate (IRw) and body weight (BW). The SOE scores revealed that IRw–BW are the most important input parameters for the assessment of oral health risk. For the dermal model, the highest value of Sobol score was recorded for interactions Cw–SA for adults followed by teens and children. Further, the results show that the older-age groups have more dermal risk than the younger-age groups. The research explores the feasibility of SSA technique to investigate the effects of individual input parameters for health risk model and whether it can be applied to another contaminant.


Groundwater Sobol sensitivity analysis Fluoride Mid-Gangetic plain 



This work was supported by the Board of Research and Nuclear Sciences through the Department of Atomic Energy, India for providing financial assistance under the National Uranium project (NUP) (BRNS Project Ref. No.: 36(4)/14/10/2014-BRNS). The authors are also profoundly grateful to the reviewers and the associate editor for the careful examination of the draft of the manuscript and their many valuable comments and suggestions to help improve the manuscript.


The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Board of Research and Nuclear Sciences under Department of Atomic Energy, India.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Adimalla N (2018) Groundwater quality for drinking and irrigation purposes and potential health risks assessment: a case study from semi-arid region of South India. Expo Health. Google Scholar
  2. Adimalla N, Venkatayogi S (2017) Mechanism of fluoride enrichment in groundwater of hard rock aquifers in Medak, Telangana State, South India. Environ Earth Sci 76:45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adimalla N, Li P, Qian H (2018a) Evaluation of groundwater contamination for fluoride and nitrate in semi-arid region of Nirmal Province, South India: a special emphasis on human health risk assessment (HHRA). Hum Ecol Risk Assess. Google Scholar
  4. Adimalla N, Vasa SK, Li P (2018b) Evaluation of groundwater quality, Peddavagu in Central Telangana (PCT), South India: an insight of controlling factors of fluoride enrichment. Model Earth Syst Environ 4:841–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Akiniwa K (1997) Re-examination of acute toxicity of fluoride. Fluoride 30:89–104Google Scholar
  6. Apambire W, Boyle D, Michel F (1997) Geochemistry, genesis, and health implications of fluoriferous groundwaters in the upper regions of Ghana. Environ Geol 33:13–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. APHA (2005) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. American Public Health Association (APHA), Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Baghania AN, Mahvib AH, Rastkaric N, Delikhoond M, Hosseinie SS, Sheikhif R (2017) Synthesis and characterization of amino-functionalized magnetic nanocomposite (Fe3O4-NH2) for fluoride removal from aqueous solution. Desalin Water Treat 65:367–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barbier O, Arreola-Mendoza L, Del Razo LM (2010) Molecular mechanisms of fluoride toxicity. Chem Biol Interact 188:319–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bassin EB, Wypij D, Davis RB, Mittleman MA (2006) Age-specific fluoride exposure in drinking water and osteosarcoma (United States). Cancer Causes Control 17:421–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Beg M, Srivastav S, Carranza E, de Smeth J (2011) High fluoride incidence in groundwater and its potential health effects in parts of Raigarh District, Chhattisgarh, India. Curr Sci 100:750–754Google Scholar
  12. Chakraborti D, Das B, Murrill MT (2010) Examining India’s groundwater quality management. Environ Sci Technol 45(1):27–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chilton J et al (2006) Fluoride in drinking-water. World Health 408:613–693Google Scholar
  14. Choi AL et al (2015) Association of lifetime exposure to fluoride and cognitive functions in Chinese children: a pilot study. Neurotoxicol Teratol 47:96–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cooper C, Wickham CA, Barker DJ, Jacobsen SJ (1991) Water fluoridation and hip fracture. Jama 266:513–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cronin AA, Prakash A, Priya S, Coates S (2014) Water in India: situation and prospects. Water Policy 16:425–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dehghani MH, Faraji M, Mohammadi A, Kamani H (2017) Optimization of fluoride adsorption onto natural and modified pumice using response surface methodology: isotherm, kinetic and thermodynamic studies. Korean J Chem Eng 34:454–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Edmunds WM, Smedley PL (2013) Fluoride in natural waters. Essentials of medical geology. Springer, Berlin, pp 311–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Epa U (2011) Exposure factors handbook 2011 edition (final). US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  20. Felsenfeld AJ, Robert M (1991) A report of fluorosis in the United States secondary to drinking well water. J Am Med Assoc 265:486–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. He S, Wu J (2018) Hydrogeochemical characteristics, groundwater quality and health risks from hexavalent chromium and nitrate in groundwater of Huanhe Formation in Wuqi County, northwest China. Expo Health 5:9. Google Scholar
  22. He X, Wu J, He S (2018) Hydrochemical characteristics and quality evaluation of groundwater in terms of health risks in Luohe aquifer in Wuqi County of the Chinese Loess Plateau, northwest China. Hum Ecol Risk Assess. Google Scholar
  23. Homma T, Saltelli A (1996) Importance measures in global sensitivity analysis of nonlinear models. Reliab Eng Syst Saf 52:1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huang D, Yang J, Wei X, Qin J, Ou S, Zhang Z, Zou Y (2017) Probabilistic risk assessment of Chinese residents’ exposure to fluoride in improved drinking water in endemic fluorosis areas. Environ Pollut 222:118–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. IPCS (2012) Environmental health criteria 227: fluorides Effects of ingested fluoride. National Academy Press, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  26. Jacks G, Bhattacharya P, Chaudhary V, Singh K (2005) Controls on the genesis of some high-fluoride groundwaters in India. Appl Geochem 20:221–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jacobson J, Weinstein L (1977) Sampling and analysis of fluoride: methods for ambient air, plant and animal tissues, water, soil and foods. J Occup Environ Med 19:79–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Karami A et al (2017) Application of response surface methodology for statistical analysis, modeling, and optimization of malachite green removal from aqueous solutions by manganese-modified pumice adsorbent. Desalin Water Treat 89:150–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Karthikeyan G, Shunmugasundarraj A (2000) Isopleth mapping and in situ fluoride dependence on water quality in the Krishnagiri block of Tamil Nadu in South India. Fluoride 33:121–127Google Scholar
  30. Khorsandi H, Mohammadi A, Karimzadeh S, Khorsandi J (2016) Evaluation of corrosion and scaling potential in rural water distribution network of Urmia, Iran. Desalin Water Treat 57:10585–10592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kohn WG, Maas WR, Malvitz DM, Presson SM, Shaddix KK (2001) Recommendations for using fluoride to prevent and control dental caries in the United States. Morbid Mortal. Wkly Rep. 50, No. RR-14.
  32. Kumar S, Lata S, Yadav J, Yadav J (2017) Relationship between water, urine and serum fluoride and fluorosis in school children of Jhajjar District, Haryana, India. Appl Water Sci 7:3377–3384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kumar D, Singh A, Jha RK, Sahoo SK, Jha V (2018) Using spatial statistics to identify the uranium hotspot in groundwater in the mid-eastern Gangetic plain, India. Environ Earth Sci 77:702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Li P, Qian H, Wu J, Chen J, Zhang Y, Zhang H (2014) Occurrence and hydrogeochemistry of fluoride in shallow alluvial aquifer of Weihe River, China. Environ Earth Sci 71(7):3133–3145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Li P, Li X, Meng X, Li M, Zhang Y (2016) Appraising groundwater quality and health risks from contamination in a semiarid region of northwest China. Expo Health 8(3):361–379. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Li P, He X, Li Y, Xiang G (2018) Occurrence and health implication of fluoride in groundwater of loess aquifer in the Chinese Loess Plateau: a case study of Tongchuan. Expo Health, Northwest China. Google Scholar
  37. Maithani P, Gurjar R, Banerjee R, Balaji B, Ramachandran S, Singh R (1998) Anomalous fluoride in groundwater from western part of Sirohi district, Rajasthan and its crippling effects on human health. Curr Sci 74(9):773–777Google Scholar
  38. Marya CM, Ashokkumar B, Dhingra S, Dahiya V, Gupta A (2014) Exposure to high-fluoride drinking water and risk of dental caries and dental fluorosis in Haryana, India. Asia Pac J Public Health 26:295–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Miller G, Egyed M, Shupe J (1977) Alkaline phosphatase activity, fluoride citric acid, calcium, and phosphorus content in bones of cows with osteoporosis. Fluoride 10:76Google Scholar
  40. Miri M, Allahabadi A, Ghaffari HR, Fathabadi ZA, Raisi Z, Rezai M, Aval MY (2016) Ecological risk assessment of heavy metal (HM) pollution in the ambient air using a new bio-indicator. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23:14210–14220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Narsimha A, Sudarshan V (2017) Contamination of fluoride in groundwater and its effect on human health: a case study in hard rock aquifers of Siddipet, Telangana State, India. Appl Water Sci 7:2501–2512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. NAS (1971) Fluorides, committee on biological effects of atmospheric pollutants. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC. p 295Google Scholar
  43. Ozsvath DL (2009) Fluoride and environmental health: a review. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol 8:59–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Petersen PE (2004) Challenges to improvement of oral health in the 21st century: the approach of the WHO Global Oral Health Programme. Int Dent J 54:329–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Podgorny PC, McLaren L (2015) Public perceptions and scientific evidence for perceived harms/risks of community water fluoridation: an examination of online comments pertaining to fluoridation cessation in Calgary in 2011. Can J Pub Health 106:e413–e425Google Scholar
  46. Riggs BL et al (1990) Effect of fluoride treatment on the fracture rate in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. N Engl J Med 322:802–809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rostamia I, Mahvib AH, Dehghanib MH, Baghania AN, Marandid R (2017) Application of nano aluminum oxide and multi-walled carbon nanotube in fluoride removal. Desalination 1:6Google Scholar
  48. Saltelli A, Tarantola S, Chan K-S (1999) A quantitative model-independent method for global sensitivity analysis of model output. Technometrics 41:39–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Samal AC, Bhattacharya P, Mallick A, Ali MM, Pyne J, Santra SC (2015) A study to investigate fluoride contamination and fluoride exposure dose assessment in lateritic zones of West Bengal, India. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22:6220–6229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Saxena V, Ahmed S (2001) Dissolution of fluoride in groundwater: a water-rock interaction study. Environ Geol 40:1084–1087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Singh A, Jolly S, Bansal B, Mathur C (1963) Endemic fluorosis: epidemiological, clinical and biochemical study of chronic fluorine intoxication In Panjaei (India). Medicine 42:229–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sobol IM (1993) Sensitivity estimates for nonlinear mathematical models. Math Model Comput Exp 1:407–414Google Scholar
  53. Staff E (2001) Supplemental guidance for developing soil screening levels for superfund sites, Peer review Draft Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, OSWER:9355.9354–9324Google Scholar
  54. Subba Rao N, Prakasa Rao J, Nagamalleswara Rao B, Niranjan Babu P, Madusudhana Reddy P, Devadas DJ (1998) A preliminary report on fluoride content in groundwaters of Guntur area, Andhra Pradesh, India. Curr Sci 75:887–888Google Scholar
  55. Tang Q-q DuJ, H-h Ma, S-j Jiang, X-j Zhou (2008) Fluoride and children’s intelligence: a meta-analysis. Biol Trace Elem Res 126:115–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. USEPA (1992) Guidelines for exposure assessment. Fed Reg 57:22888–22938Google Scholar
  57. WHO (2004) IPCS risk assessment terminology. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  58. WHO (2011) Guidelines for drinking-water quality. WHO Chron 38:104–108Google Scholar
  59. Wu J, Sun Z (2016) Evaluation of shallow groundwater contamination and associated human health risk in an alluvial plain impacted by agricultural and industrial activities, mid-west China. Expo Health 8:311–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wu J, Li P, Qian H (2015) Hydrochemical characterization of drinking groundwater with special reference to fluoride in an arid area of China and the control of aquifer leakage on its concentrations. Environ Earth Sci 73:8575–8588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Yadav AK, Abbassi R, Gupta A, Dadashzadeh M (2013) Removal of fluoride from aqueous solution and groundwater by wheat straw, sawdust and activated bagasse carbon of sugarcane. Ecol Eng 52:211–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Yang K, Liang X (2011) Fluoride in drinking water: effect on liver and kidney function. In: Nriagu Jerome O (ed) Encyclopedia of Environmental Health. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 769–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zhang XY, Trame M, Lesko L, Schmidt S (2015) Sobol sensitivity analysis: a tool to guide the development and evaluation of systems pharmacology models. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol 4:69–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zhang S et al (2016) Excessive apoptosis and defective autophagy contribute to developmental testicular toxicity induced by fluoride. Environ Pollut 212:97–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringNational Institute of Technology PatnaBiharIndia
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsNational Institute of Technology PatnaBiharIndia
  3. 3.Environmental Assessment DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreTrombayIndia

Personalised recommendations