Posted by: benbalzer | June 3, 2008

The Iodine Emergency

The iodine situation in Australia has been likened to standing on a narrow path at the top of the cliff and edging perilously forward. We are on the verge of falling into the chasm of severe iodine deficiency disease. Within living memory Tasmania had severe iodine deficiency associated with massive goitres and cretinism. This situation must not be allowed to occur ever again.

At the Nutrition Society of Australia Annual scientific meeting in Brisbane in 2004, a speaker predicted that we will shortly see babies born with cretinism again in mainland Australia. The first cases of rickets (due to severe maternal vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy) were already appearing then and rickets is now so commonplace in certain hospitals that it is not even written up in medical journals (eg many hospitals in Sydney). Similarly there is nothing to stop the emergence of cretinism, indeed it is inevitable if this memorandum of understanding is not enacted.

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