Universal Salt Iodisation

Coinciding with observance of Global Iodine Deficiency Disorder prevention day, Pakistan’s public health officials call for a stronger salt iodisation program. The Universal Salt Iodisation programme is a government health initiative that bans the sale of noniodised salt, in an effort to lower iodine deficiency. The latest national nutrition survey in 16 districts of south Punjab was reviewed by health officers and reported in Pakistan’s news:

Public health: Salt iodisation should be strengthened

Chaudhary said the Universal Salt Iodisation (USI) programme should be strengthened to reduce iodine deficiency disorders. He said the USI programme had shown success in combating iodine deficiency disorders. “There is a need to strengthen the monitoring framework to improve the quality of salt iodisation and achievement of sustainable results,” he said. He stressed the Health Department should also expand the scope of the USI programme….

Micronutrient Initiative (MI) Programme Manager Khawaja Masood Ahmad said in the National Nutrition Survey 2011 had showed that 79 percent people in the province were consuming iodised salt, compared to only 17 percent in 2001. USI Programme Manager Munawar Hussain said Pakistan was among the few countries where iodine deficiency disorder was still a public health problem.

He said clinical research had shown that iodine deficiency was the major cause of mental impairment, brain damage and 13-15 per cent low IQ in children. He said pregnant faced several problems women due to iodine deficiency. He said making iodised salt available for households was an easy and cost-effective strategy to eliminate iodine deficiency disorder globally…Read more.

India’s government has been working on iodised salt programs to lower iodine deficiencies since 1952. WHO, UNICEP, World Food Programme, and NGOs have since joined these efforts, followed by the formation of the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders in 1986.

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13 responses to “Universal Salt Iodisation

  1. Australia’s soils have a low iodine content and so we started getting iodised salt decades ago. However, in recent years salt in Australia is no longer universally iodised, and it’s actually becoming difficult to get.
    What’s the result? An increase in goitre cases across the population.

    • The Goblin King in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” must be an Aussie, then, or do Kiwis have the same problem going on?

    • people who eat seafood do not usually get goiter……so cite your source that it’s “across the population”

  2. How about we sell both kinds of salt and let people choose the salt they want?
    I voted against fluoridation in Billings not because I fear it — I use all the usual fluoride dental products — but because others do fear it and I see no reason to compel them to use fluoride. Dental issues are individual and not communicable from one person to another.

    • Putting fluoride in water does not compel people to use it. It just makes not using it a bit more expensive. No one pours fluoridated water down people’s throats. Same for chloramines, etc. Get filter and filter it out. I just don’t buy the argument that everyone is forced to use fluoridated water.

  3. I always wondered if you were from Montana.

    • Howdy Bob
      Thus the MT, of course. I grew up in Arizona and California when they were both blue states, served around the Northern Hemisphere for 20 years in the USAF, landed here with my sweetheart in 1996. We’ve raised two kids in what I consider the very good public schools of Billings. Eastern MT leans conservative and resource-friendly, Western MT leans liberal and granola-crunchy-tree-huggy.

  4. Some iodine in salt is not dangerous and has no downside risk. When one considers the sneaky and devastating nature of hypothyroidism, it’s a no brainer.

    Indidentally age is a big factor for hypothyroidism and for those who have older dogs that are going down, make sure they are checked for hypothyroidism that can kill them early.

    • We used to call my dog “coma dog” because she rarely got up and did anything. After checking her thyroid and finding out it was low, she is now on medication and quite active. Good to mention that dogs have this problem too.

  5. Yes, we all want our freedom to choose–until someone has to pay for the dental work, the thyroid tests, etc. Then we want everyone to pay for the medical costs of no iodine in the salt. So–give everyone a choice, drop paying for any problems associated with not using the iodine or whatever. Then we all make our choices and pay for those choices.

    I have wondered if the insistence on cutting salt results in lack of iodine. I know there are other sources, but salt seemed to be the major source.

  6. Goiter is not found in areas where salt water fish is in the normal diet….problem solved. Promote seafood.

    • From Medicine net: “A goiter can develop as a result of numerous different conditions. It can be associated with over-function of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism, or excessive thyroid hormones) or with under-function of the gland (hypothyroidism, or inadequate levels of thyroid hormones).”

      Yes, iodine deficiency can and does cause goiters, but it’s not the only cause. And goiters are not the major concern with iodine deficiency. Goiters are probably low on the scale of why to worry about iodine intake, except in countries where vanity is king.

      As for the “eat more salt water fish”–we are already overfishing in many places, so your “solution” would require even more over-fishing. Perhaps you should have suggested eating kelp–more plentiful and if we are to save the world from iodine deficiency “naturally”, then we should use something in abundance. You might even be able to farm kelp.

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