Iodine deficiency: the most common cause of preventable mental retardation in the worldGlobally, about 30% of the world's population live in areas with iodine deficiency and its complications. Iodine deficiency decreases child survival, causes goiter and impairs growth and development. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women causes miscarriages, low birth weight and other complications. Children may grow up stunted and with lower IQ. Because of its profound health effects, iodine defiency is a brake to the social and economic development of many countries.
Simple and affordable technology exists to prevent iodine deficiency and the problems it causesIodizing salt can eliminate iodine deficiency. It is effective and costs only pennies per person per year. Iodized salt is safe for infants, children and pregnant women. Moreover, changes in iodine intake from salt iodization can be easily monitored through measuring urinary iodine.