Iodine deficiency diseases are a group of diseases that are or can be caused by the lack of iodine in the body. Iodine is a dark violet non-metallic element that belongs to a group of halogens but is less reactive than the other halogens. It has a boiling point of 13.5ºc and a melting point of 183ºc, when heated a violet vapor is given out. It can be extracted from seawater, seaweeds, and oil well brines. It is also concentrated in the thyroid gland as a part of the thyroid hormone. Iodine can be found in water more than it can be found on land this is because iodine cycling is very slow and incomplete in most regions so it takes a long time for the soil to regain the iodine (Michael Zimmermann & Creswell J. Eastman, 2009), which is washed out of the soil by processes such as leaching and ongoing erosion. So crops grown on such soil becomes iodine deficient. The iodine washed away usually ends up in seawater hence the high iodine (World Health organizations, 1995) areas and areas of frequent flooding, but can also occur in coastal regions (Michael Zimmermann & Creswell J. Eastman, 2009). Iodine is needed for growth and development even for the fetus. Lack of iodine is also known as an iodine deficiency and can cause abortion stillbirth, mental retardation, growth retardation and goiter. Human being needs a very small amount of iodine to prevent deficiencies (World Health organizations, 1995).
According to WHO’s book humans need only a 250 micrograms of iodine, which is just a quarter of a milligram (World Health organizations, 1995). This small amount is able to sustain humans and help them to have a healthy. The tables underneath show the recommended daily intake of iodine per day.
Table 1: World health organization’s recommended daily iodine intake (µg/day) for each population group (Michael Zimmermann & Creswell J. Eastman, 2009)
Population group Age World Health Organization
Infants 0–12 months 90
Children 1-8 years 120
Children 9-13 years 150
Adults Above 14 years 250
Pregnant women 250
Table 2 U.S institutes of medicine’s recommended daily iodine intake (µg/day) for each population group. (Michael Zimmermann & Creswell J. Eastman, 2009)
Population group Age U.S. Institute of Medicine
Infants 0–12 months 110-130
Children 1-8 years 90
Children 9-13 years 120
Adults Above 14 years 150
Pregnant women 220
Lactating women 290
In 1999, IDD was identified as a significant public health problem in 130 countries, and had affected 740 million people. The most affected regions, in decreasing order of magnitude, are Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, Europe, South-East Asia, Western Pacific, and the Americas. Although remarkable measurable progress has been achieved since then, about 16 million cretins and almost 50 million others are still affected by slighter degrees of IDD-related brain damage. One-third of the world’s population is estimated to be at risk of IDD.
(World Health Organization, 2000)
The body needs...