Iodization of salt for the prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders
Iodine is essential for healthy brain development in the fetus and young child. Iodine deficiency negatively affects the health of women, as well as economic productivity and quality of life.
Most people need an additional source of iodine as it is found in relatively small amounts in the diet. Iodization is the process of fortifying salt for human consumption with iodine and is an effective strategy to increase iodine intake at the population level.
The public health goals of reducing salt and increasing iodine intake through salt iodization are compatible as the concentration of iodine in salt can be adjusted as needed. Monitoring the levels of iodine in salt and the iodine status of the population are critical for ensuring that the population's needs are met and not exceeded.
All food-grade salt, used in household and food processing should be fortified with iodine as a safe and effective strategy for the prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders in populations living in stable and emergency settings.
Additional information, including a suggested scheme for fortification, can be found in the guidance summary, and in the guideline under 'WHO documents' below.
Fortification of food-grade salt with iodine for the prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders
Other guidance documents
Assessment of iodine deficiency disorders and monitoring their elimination: A guide for programme managers (third edition)
Recommended iodine levels in salt and guidelines for monitoring their adequacy and effectiveness
Iodine and health: Eliminating iodine deficiency disorders safely through salt iodization
Systematic reviews used to develop the guidelines
Effects and safety of salt iodisation to prevent iodine deficiency disorders: a systematic review with meta-analyses.
Aburto NJ, Abudou M, Candeias V, Wu T. (in press).
Related Cochrane reviews
Other related systematic reviews
Fortified salt for preventing iodine deficiency disorders: a systematic review
Iodized salt for iodine deficiency disorders: a systematic review