China Changes Iodized Salt Policy

China has changed it’s iodized salt policy and set different standards for different regions, The Beijing News reported. Iodine is essential to humans, who generally consume it through food and water. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, takes iodine and converts it into thyroid hormones. Consuming either too much or too little iodine can cause severe metabolic problems — from goiters, elevated heart rate, and high blood pressure to low metabolism and general listlessness.

Recent studies, however, have shown that between 1997 and 2011, Chinese people consumed too much iodine — and, more importantly, indicated that excessive iodine consumption can lead to thyroid-related illnesses. For example, the rate of thyroid nodules, or abnormal growths in the thyroid gland, rose from less than 5 percent in 1999 to 20 percent in 2017, according to a study by Teng Weiping, an endocrinology expert at China Medical University in the northeastern city of Shenyang.

Apart from the risk of excessive iodine intake from salt, a 2005 research paper found that nearly 31 million Chinese people — including communities in Shandong, Anhui, Henan, and Shanxi provinces — are at risk of thyroid problems from naturally high iodine levels in their drinking water.

For now, at least, noniodized salt remains strictly regulated in China, where selling unauthorized or mislabeled salt can lead to detention or a fine of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,700).

This story was edited by David Paulk and you can read it here:

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