The European Union (EU) has announced yesterday that as of October 25 this year, iodine will no longer be sold or supplied for use in disinfecting drinking water in the 27 EU member countries.
Using iodine to disinfect drinking water is a long-standing practice throughout the world, routinely used by outdoor enthusiasts, travelers, military personnel, disaster survivors and emergency respondents. When used for short periods, and with the correct dosage, it has been considered safe. However, the U.S. Center for Disease Control condones it with caveats. It advises against consuming iodinated water for any extended period of time (more than a few weeks), and warns pregnant women, those with a history of thyroid disease, and anyone allergic to iodine not to drink water treated with iodine.
Iodine is necessary for proper thyroid function, but too much can be as damaging as too little. Will the U.S. follow the EU's lead? Stay tuned for updates.
Iodine is only one chemical being phased out by the EU. The full list can be found here.