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Iodized oil during pregnancy. Safe use of iodized oil to prevent iodine deficiency in pregnant women. A statement by the World Health Organization.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1996.  p. (WHO/NUT/96.5)The risks and expected benefits from iodized oil, given orally or by injection, to pregnant women in areas of severe iodine deficiency where iodized salt is not available were evaluated. The conclusions, which were approved by the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD), showed that for preventing and controlling moderate and severe iodine deficiency, the giving of iodized oil is safe at any time during pregnancy. Maximum protection against endemic cretinism and neonatal hypothyroidism will be achieved when iodized oil is given before conception. The potential benefits greatly outweigh the potential risks in areas of moderate and severe iodine deficiency disorders, where iodized salt is not available and is unlikely to be made available in the short term (1-2 years). (author's)
Lancet. 1996 Sep 28; 348(9031):883.UNICEF and other international agencies are taking action to iodize salt in 118 countries where 1.5 billion people are at risk of iodine-deficiency disorders (IDD), the greatest preventable cause of mental retardation worldwide. Most of these target countries are developing countries. Only 46 of the 118 countries had a national salt-iodization program in 1990. That number has since increased to 83 (mid-1996). Salt iodization efforts focus on women of reproductive age, since IDD adversely affects fetal brain and nervous system development. Children with IDD also have fewer defenses against infections and other nutritional problems. UNICEF estimates that IDD is responsible for about 5.7 million cases of cretinism, 43 million cases of people with some degree of intellectual handicap, and 655 million cases of goiter. West Africa is endemic for IDD. In 1993, in central Guinea, 70% of adults had goiter and 2% of goiter cases were affected by cretinism. 55% of school children had thyroid swelling. 69% of all people had an iodine excretion level below the threshold of 20 mcg/l. The president of Guinea issued a decree in November 1995 for the iodization of salt. In Mamadou, Guinea, the health director is organizing religious and business leaders, teachers, and parents to educate them to the need for iodized salt. Knowledge about the importance of iodine and about the fact that cassava and fonio facilitate goiter growth is low. Soon after the 1993 survey, UNICEF distributed iodine capsules for the most severely affected people. It takes time to pass laws requiring the iodization of all salt. In Ghana, red tape has delayed passage of such a bill for many months. As a consequence, salt producers in Ghana are exporting 70% of their iodized salt to Mali and Burkina Faso, where salt iodization is required by law. Potassium iodate is more stable under different climatic conditions than potassium iodide. Thyrotoxicosis is a concern, but it usually stops 1-2 years after implementation of salt iodization. Salt iodization is the norm in Algeria, Cameroon, Eritrea, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
BULLETIN OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. 1996; 74(1):1-3.Salt iodization is the best way to correct iodine deficiency. However, in areas of moderate and severe iodine deficiency where salt iodization is not yet in place, periodic large doses of iodine are frequently administered to all women of childbearing age, orally or by injection, in the form of slowly resorbable iodized oil. The World Health Organization convened a meeting of a group of experts to review and evaluate the results of this practice with regard to its risks and expected benefits. The group determined that it is safe to administer iodized oil at any time during pregnancy to prevent and control moderate and severe iodine deficiency. Maximum protection against endemic cretinism and neonatal hypothyroidism will, however, be achieved when iodized oil is given prior to conception. These conclusions are approved by the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD). The potential benefits greatly outweigh the potential risks in areas of moderate and severe iodine deficiency disorders, where iodized salt is unavailable and unlikely to be made available within one to two years.