Iodised water
Iodised water Ellen Muehlhoff 17.10.2000
Re: Iodised water John T. Dunn 17.10.2000

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 19:12:25 +0200

From: "Muehlhoff, Ellen (ESNP)" <>

Subject: Iodised water



I am writing regarding a request that I received from a colleague who is currently working in Ethiopia.

We would like to find about methods of iodising water and their efficacy.

FAO's Food and Nutrition Division is assisting the Ethiopian government with the planning and implementation of an integrated household food security and nutrition project in two areas (Northern Shoa and Southern Tigray). The focus of the project is on promoting improved access to nutritious diets, through food diversification and nutrition education. We have found that in the areas of operation, as indeed elsewhere in Ethiopia, there is a huge iodine deficiency problem.

Unfortunately, salt iodisation has not been successful for a number of reasons. Most salt that is imported into Ethiopia comes from Djibouti and I am told that the necessary arrangements to ensure that all imported salt is iodised, as well as the legal aspects and monitoring mechanisms, appear to have failed. The pressing issue for us right now is what can be done locally and on an interim basis to address the problem until a national programme of salt iodisation can be put in place and its functioning assured?

I am wondering whether iodisation of well water could be a practical alternative. What experiences do exist with this and where? What is the cost? What are the quality control and monitoring mechanisms required? What are the constraints, and the dangers involved? Which agency, UN, NGO or other, currently actively engaged in Ethiopia could provide assistance in this area of expertise?

Many thanks and I look forward to your replies.

With my best regards,

Ellen Mühlhoff


Nutrition Programmes Service, Food and Nutrition Division
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Viale delle Terme di Caracalla,
00100 Rome, Italy
tel: 39 06 5705 4113, fax: 39 06 5705 4593
Have a look at FAO's Nutrition website on:

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 15:29:34 +0000

From: "John T. Dunn" <>

Subject: Re: Iodised water

Cc: ,


In response to Ellen Muehlhoff's note, we have an extensive review of water iodization for correction of I deficiency in the IDD Newsletter 13:(3): 33-39, August, 1997. You can reach it on our website www.iccidd. org under IDD Newsletters; sorry that part's not indexed yet. Simple cheap methods are available but they require oversight and responsibility. The most successful examples are Thailand and Malasia. Iodine (I2) can also provide some measure of water purification as well. ICCIDD has considerably more information, depending on your specific needs. Unicef has been active against IDD, mainly through salt, but has also supported other solutions, including making the iodized salt program more effective. Let us know if you need more details.

John Dunn


John T. Dunn, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia Secretary, ICCIDD
Editor, IDD Newsletter
Fax 1-804-296-9275, Phone 1-804-924-5929