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Encyclopedia > Iodised salt
Iodized table salt (left) and non-iodized table salt (right)
Iodized table salt (left) and non-iodized table salt (right)
The Morton Salt company began iodizing salt for Americans in the fall of 1924.
The Morton Salt company began iodizing salt for Americans in the fall of 1924.

Iodised salt (AmE: iodized salt), table salt mixed with a minute amount of sodium iodide, is used to help reduce the chance of iodine deficiency in humans. Iodine deficiency commonly leads to thyroid gland problems, specifically endemic goiter. Endemic goiter is a disease characterized by a swelling of the thyroid gland, usually resulting in a bulbous protrusion on the neck. While only tiny quantities of iodine are required in a diet to prevent goiter, (the United States Food and Drug Administration recommends (21 CFR 101.9 (c)(8)(iv)) 150 microgrammes of iodine per day for both men and women), there are many places around the world where natural levels of iodine in the soil are low and the iodine is not taken up by vegetables. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 639 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (2178 × 2043 pixel, file size: 255 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 639 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (2178 × 2043 pixel, file size: 255 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ... Edible salt is a mineral, one of the few rocks people eat. ... Iodine is an essential trace element; the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodotyronine contain iodine. ... A goitre (or goiter) (Latin struma) is a swelling in the neck (just below adams apple or larynx) due to an enlarged thyroid gland. ... In nutrition, the diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. ... The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and is responsible for regulating food (humans and animal), dietary supplements, drugs (human and animal), cosmetics, medical devices (human and animal) and radiation emitting devices (including non-medical devices), biologics, and... BIC pen cap, about 1 gram. ... For the American hard rock band, see Soil (band). ...

Today, iodized salt is more common in the United States, Australia and New Zealand than in Britain, where iodized milk is more popular.


History of salt iodation

In the U.S. in the early 20th century, goiter was especially prevalent in the region around the Great Lakes and the Pacific Northwest. Goiter began receiving serious attention as a result of the World War I draft pointing to the problem in Northern Michigan and Wisconsin. At this time, many men were disqualified from military service as a result of the public health problem. This raised questions beyond the ability of these men to serve in the war. Many asked: if they could not do this, how useful were they in everyday civilian life?[1]

David Murray Cowie pioneer of the salt iodation process in America. A professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan, Cowie was concerned about the widespread problem of goiter in Michigan (nicknamed the "goiter belt" of America). Aware of the Swiss process of adding sodium iodide or potassium iodide to table and cooking salt, Cowie decided that a simple way to address the problem of iodine deficiency would be to merely implement the Swiss solution in America. He also used evidence from adding iodine to aquatic environments in the Pacific Northwest, and the decrease in goiter among fish species. Public opinion also supported his effort in that "important discoveries of vitamins and their roles in food nutrition" were happening during the period". Cowie appealed to the Michigan State Medical Society, a "productive group which concerned itself with the search for answers to difficult medical questions pertaining to the health of the state's residents".[2] Clinical Examination Pediatrics (also spelled paediatrics) is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents (from newborn to age 16-21, depending on the country). ... The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (UM or U of M) is a coeducational public research university in the U.S. state of Michigan. ... Sodium iodide (NaI) is used in polymerase chain reactions (PCR) Categories: Chemistry stubs ... Potassium iodide is a white crystalline salt with chemical formula KI, used in photography and radiation treatment. ...

Incorporating iodide into a regular diet would not be an easy process, and therefore, the salt producers of America had to be persuaded to implement the step of adding sodium iodide into their production process. Furthermore, it was difficult to prove that people who consumed iodized salt were better protected from simple goiter, which also strengthened resistance against the movement. Cowie and the Michigan State Medical Society turned to the Michigan Salt Producer's Association in 1923. Soon, an iodized salt committee was formed. After several months of meetings and deliberations with physicians and educators, the Executive Council of the Michigan State Medical Society gave Cowie the authority to endorse and implement the production of iodized salt, and the Michigan salt producers agreed to begin producing iodized table salt with labels reading "contains .01 per cent sodium iodide".[3]

On May 1, 1924, Iodized salt by Diamond Crystal Salt, Mulkey Salt, Inland Delray Salt, Michigan Salt Works, and Ruggles and Rademaker appeared on Michigan grocers' shelves. By the fall of 1924, Morton Salt Company began distributing iodized salt nationally. Morton Umbrella Girl Morton Salt is a United States company specializing in the production of salt for food, water conditioning, industrial, agricultural, and road/highway use. ...

Cowie's effort in changing the environment of the people for improvement of their health shows how many different parties need to be included. Cowie gained support from the medical board and market support from the Michigan Salt Producers Association, and with this scientific backing, the general public accepted the change. Through this process, we have an early example of an optimal default being created in the field of public health. Cowie's efforts also added a new focus on prevention as well as the advancement and improvement of social and industrial lives as it became more prevalent during the Progressive era, rather than on merely curing diseases. It was also highlighted by a larger focus on vitamins and in general the possibility of supplementing foods as a way to solve health problems.

See also

Naturally formed salt crystals with a U.S. penny for size reference (19. ... The Honorable Dr Basil Hetzel AC (born 1922) is an Australian medical researcher who has made a major contribution to combating iodine deficiency, a major cause of goitre and cretinism world wide. ... Enriched flour is flour with nutrients added to it. ... Water fluoridation is the practice of adding fluoride compounds to water with the intended purpose of reducing tooth decay in the general population. ... General Name, Symbol, Number iodine, I, 53 Chemical series halogens Group, Period, Block 17, 5, p Appearance violet-dark gray, lustrous Atomic mass 126. ... Microminerals (also known as trace elements) are micronutrients that are chemical elements. ... Retinol (Vitamin A) For the record label, see Vitamin Records Vitamins are nutrients required in very small amounts for essential metabolic reactions in the body. ...


  1. ^ Markel, "When in Rains it Pours", p. 220
  2. ^ Markel, "When in Rains it Pours", p. 222
  3. ^ Markel, "When in Rains it Pours", p. 219-224

Markel, Howard. ""When It Rains It Pours": Endemic Goiter, Iodized Salt, and David Murray Cowie MD", American Journal of Public Health, vol. 77 (1987), pp. 219-229.

  • 21 CFR 101.9 (c)(8)(iv) (Text PDF)

External links

  • Network for Sustained Elimination of Iodine Deficiency
  • NY Times article about program to iodize salt in Kazahkstan

  Results from FactBites:
Questions and Answers about Iodized Salt (5825 words)
Iodised salt looks, tastes and smells exactly like common salt and it is used in the same way.
Therefore, the use of iodised salt is the main method which has been used for providing iodine to the population in such countries.
Thus consumption of iodised salt is NOT harmful.
Iodised oil is certainly an effective means for the correction of iodine deficiency and has opened up the possibility of elimination of IDD as a public health problem in the next decade.
In general iodised oil administration should be avoided over the age of 45 because of the possibility of precipitating hyperthyroidism in subjects with longstanding goiter (see further in section VI 3).
Iodised bread was used in Tasmania in preference to both iodised salt and iodide tablets distributed through the schools, and shown to be effective (158).
  More results at FactBites »



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