CASH Response to Iodine Paper – 2nd June 2011

Iodine status of UK schoolgirls: a cross-sectional survey. The Lancet. Vol 377
Mark P J Vanderpump, John H Lazarus, Peter P Smyth, Peter Laurberg, Roger L Holder, Kristien Boelaert, Jayne A Franklyn

Professor Graham MacGregor, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and Chairman of CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health), says:

The paper in today's Lancet shows that there is evidence suggesting that many teenage girls in the UK may be iodine deficient and suggests that more iodine should be given to the UK population by the use of iodised salt.  Although we agree that iodine deficiency is a potentially serious problem, we feel that the recommendation to iodise salt presents a conflict in public health.

Using salt as a vehicle for iodine is, in our view, not sensible, as it requires us to put something that is potentially good into something that is known to be bad for our health.  We feel other options, such as iodisation of bread, flour or cereals, should be considered as this has been successfully implemented in Australia and New Zealand in bread.  Our current high salt intake is responsible for many thousands of deaths from strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and kidney disease each year.

The UK is currently leading the world in reducing population salt intakes, primarily by getting manufacturers to reduce the unnecessary amounts of salt that they add to processed food and also by encouraging consumers to reduce the amount of salt that they add in their own cooking and at the table.

If iodine must be added to salt, all sources of salt should be iodised in a quantity that allows salt intake to be reduced to less than 5-6g per day.

Click here to read the paper 

Click here to read the comment in The Lancet