BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) -- China's health chiefs Tuesday renewed their commitment to providing the country with iodized salt and refuted concerns of excessive iodine intake.
Chen Rui, an official with China's Health Ministry, said at a press conference that the benefits of iodized salt still outweighed the concerns of excessive iodine, citing the results of nationwide risk assessment of iodine intake led by the ministry.
The assessment was carried out in response to claims from media and medical experts that some regions, coastal areas in particular, reported cases of excessive iodine intake since last year.
Chen said iodized salt was still essential in China.
Since 1996, iodine has been added in salt across the country because in most parts of the country, the average diet is iodine deficient.
Both iodine deficiency and excessive intake can lead to thyroid diseases.
Chen Junshi, a research fellow with China CDC involved in the assessment, said even in coastal areas the risk of iodine deficiency still loomed larger than excessive intake.
He said the data suggested iodine intake by people in coastal areas was no higher than that of their inland counterparts.
However, he said, a small proportion of the population suffered excessive intake because they ingested iodine from drinking water. The ministry had already cut iodized salt supplies to some of these regions.
Chen Junshi said the ministry would identify all of the iodine sufficient areas and provide non-iodized salt to local residents.