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No link between salt & thyroid cancer: govt

(Global Times)

11:07, October 25, 2012

A tired shopper looks at packs of iodized salt at a Wu-Mart Store in Dongsi, Dongcheng district, Wednesday. Health authorities have denied it is a cause of cancer. Photo: Li Hao/GT

There is no link between consuming iodized salt and thyroid cancer, Chinese health authorities have announced.

Ma Yanming, media officer of Beijing Municipal Health Bureau told the Global Times Wednesday that so far, health experts have found no evidence to show iodized salt has any causal connection with thyroid cancer.

This comes amid alarming statistics released by the bureau last week which reported that rates of thyroid cancer have increased to become the fastest growing type of cancer in Beijing. With an average growth of 4.2 percent, its incidence has increased 225.2 percent over the past 10 years, the bureau said.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health released a report, which declared that there is no link between iodized salt and thyroid cancer.

The report aims to quash rumors of a link which have been circulating in China since 2010. These apparently started after 2,000 staff of a hospital in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, stopped using iodized salt in its employee cafeteria after discovering 12 people had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

In September, He Bing, deputy dean of the China University of Political Science and Law, posted an allegation on his Sina microblog that five staff who worked in the same hospital as a friend of his had thyroid cancer, which is "mostly caused by iodized salt."

But Ma guaranteed that the daily iodine intake quantity of Beijingers is at a safe level.

"Public health departments have been observing this figure for a long time, and the current level is neither too high, nor too low," said Ma.

Tong Chunrong, a hematology specialist at Ludaopei Hematology Oncology Center in Hebei Province, said that she suspects iodine is the cause of her colleagues' thyroid cancer.

"In the last two years, three of my colleagues were found to have thyroid cancer," said Tong.

"This is really rare, as the incidence of this cancer is only one in 100,000 people," she noted.

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