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Year : 1995  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 135-40

Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) and iodised salt in Assam : a few observations.


UNICEF, Calcutta

Correspondence Address:
A C Patowary
UNICEF, Calcutta

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 8690500

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During 1992-1993 in India, a UNICEF-supported survey was conducted in Dibrugarh District of Assam State to determine the prevalence of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), especially goiter. The prevalence of goiter remained high (42.2%) in Dibrugarh District (65.8% in 1989). 46.95% of all iodated salts had less than the optimum level of iodine (15-29.99 ppm). Storage practices affected the iodine content of the salt. For example, within a month and a half, the iodine content of salt stored in earthenware pots is reduced to about 25%. 82.4% of all women 14-45 years old did not perceive goiter as a disease. 98.13% did not know that iodized salt was available in their neighborhood. Yet, the sale of non-iodized salt has been banned in Assam since 1989. An in-depth study was conducted in Sonitpur and Tinsukia districts to determine whether raw salt was imported from the west coast (e.g., Gujarat) to Assam. Transport of iodized salt in remote areas (e.g., Sadia and Lido) took a long time in Tinsukia and storage in earthenware pots, resulting in deterioration of the quality of salt. Salt is transported to Assam in open wagons, which exposes the salt to the sun and the rains. Wholesalers store salt in thick polythene bags which are in turn kept in covered godowns. Retailers sell the salt from open verandas, which exposes the salt to rain and sun. Household storage practices include plastic or glass jars with or without a cover (80.89% and 12.15%, respectively), gourd shells (1.5%), bamboo containers (2.05%), and earthenware pots (3.41%). The quality of iodized salt sold by fraudulent traders was much lower than that sold by reputed firms. The government of India's IDD program monitors the quality of iodized salt. It provides feedback to the state government. Monitoring should be a systematic and continuous process. Assam's government has set up its own monitoring program, focusing on the household level (salt samples: 64.8%). During 1993-1994, 79.7% of salt samples had a satisfactory level of iodine and 2.7% had no iodine at all.


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