Special Correspondent

Ban on non-iodised salt sale for human consumption likely from May 17

National coalition to abolish iodine deficiency disorders launched93 per cent of households consume iodised salt in ChinaSalt ideal vehicle for supply of iodine

NEW DELHI: A survey has shown that households using iodised salt in India have increased from 37 per cent to 57 per cent resulting in protection against brain damage to an additional six million children. The ban on sale of non-iodised salt for human consumption is likely to come into effect from May 17.

Speaking at the launch of a national coalition for elimination of iodine deficiency disorders through adequate iodine intake in salt, Cecilio Adorna, UNICEF representative in India said there had been a 20 percentage point increase in the intake of iodine in the past three years.

This nodal agency would advise the Government in accelerating progress towards achieving universal salt iodisation in India. The partners in the coalition include the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministries of Women and Child Development, Industry and the Department of Education, experts and scientists and representatives of salt producers, traders, and non-governmental organisations.

Chandrakant S. Pandav, professor and Head of the Department of Community Medicine at the AIIMS, and the regional coordinator of International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) said all legal formalities for imposing the ban had been completed.

A country-wise study, conducted by the UNICEF, has revealed that an estimated 93 per cent households consumed iodised salt in China, 48 per cent in Myanmar while neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal fared much better at 70 and 63 per cent respectively. Iodine deficiency is a problem of public health importance in India with no State or Union Territory totally free from it. Of the 312 districts surveyed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 254 were found to be endemic for iodine deficiency.