Almost one-third of the world’s people don’t get enough iodine from food and water. The result in extreme cases is large goiters that swell their necks, or other obvious impairments such as dwarfism or cretinism. But far more common is mental slowness.
When a pregnant woman doesn’t have enough iodine in her body, her child may suffer irreversible brain damage and could have an I.Q. that is 10 to 15 points lower than it would otherwise be. An educated guess is that iodine deficiency results in a needless loss of more than 1 billion I.Q. points around the world. […]
“Probably no other technology,” the World Bank said of micronutrients, “offers as large an opportunity to improve lives … at such low cost and in such a short time.”
Yet the strategy hasn’t been fully put in place, partly because micronutrients have zero glamour. There are no starlets embracing iodine. And guess which country has taken the lead in this area by sponsoring the Micronutrient Initiative? Hint: It’s earnest and dull, just like micronutrients themselves.
Ta-da — Canada!
January 7, 2009 at 1:56 am
NYT: “One of the obstacles is the rumor that iodized salt is actually a contraceptive, a dastardly plot by outsiders to keep Muslims from having babies.”
The Muslim world keeps iodine deficiency in currency, just like they keep polio in currency.
I think one way to add billions to the global IQ would be the secularization or withering away of Islam. It’d even be cheaper than distributing iodine. But it’s much more difficult. That is a sad fact.
January 8, 2009 at 8:33 pm
If its more difficult then its not going to be cheaper.