There are of course, 92 naturally occurring elements here on Earth, although some might state that number up around 98 what with some of the higher atomic weight ones being recently found naturally in Uranium ore, but in reality, 92 elements. For the most part, they are mixed all around us in our environment in relatively the same proportions all over the world. For the most part. And of course, life itself we are led to believe, evolved with these elements in the environment. And for the most part, a large number of those elements have come to play an integral part of the structure of our very life itself. We need many of these elements to live, to be healthy and prosper. Things like iron, calcium, copper, and a whole host of the elements that we need in trace amounts to live. Iodine is one of those, we need it, we don't do so well without it. Too much is bad, but it's one of those elements that are necessary for good health. In fact one of the things that that the food processing industry did a hundred years ago was recognize a need in certain human populations to have more iodine and that's where "Iodized Salt" became popular. It still is a problem in many areas of the world, iodine deficiency can cause some rather nasty long term problems. It isn't just the Appalachian Goiter phenomena, it is a whole host of problems. The World Health Organization has a lengthy and quite boring description of many of the problems associated with what they have termed IDD or Iodine Deficiency Disorders and you can read about them here, beginning on page 14 (WHO IDD) Let's just say that these are things that are not figments of the imagination of some weirdo writing a blog, these are all very real problems and humans that live in areas, generally landlocked with no access to ocean products, live, grow, breed and develop with a deficiency of iodine. Many of the problems that develop before goiters grow are retardation, reduced mental acuity, loss of motor skills, spastic conditions and a whole lot more less severe things like obesity, muscle weakness, cognitive development and there are specific links to increases in breast cancer. It isn't something to laugh off, it's real, it's a big part of our world, and it is preventable. Pretty much eating anything that grew in the ocean (NOT FARMED SALMON OR SHRIMP) will have iodine in it. Eating real natural sea products, especially seaweeds, will give you all the iodine you should need. Using that horrible metallic tasting iodized salt will also help, however eating a tin of tuna or sardines will do the same and be better for you in many ways.
There is a bit of a problem with that. The problem goes back to those 92 elements. Chemists have been working with the elements for a long time now and a while back some of them figured out the Periodic Chart of the Elements which is a handy tool for those of us that know how to use it. It's set up so we can view "Families" of elements that all seem to have very similar properties. One of the closest pairs of elements in the Chart that share properties are the two elements Iodine and Bromine. They are very similar in how they react and how they "interact" with every other element. One is necessary for life, the other is a deadly poison. For the most part, bromine exists all over the world in the form of halide salts and are not absorbed by the human body when ingested. Modern man does things a little differently though, and greedy men have found ways to profit from the use of isolated bromine. And that's where the problems begin.
When a human being ingests iodine and bromine there is a simple problem, the body needs iodine, but the fact is that when both are available, the body utilizes the bromine instead. This weird problem is called "The Bromine Dominance Effect" Humans didn't evolve with free bromine in their diets, they evolved with iodine. And the body doesn't know what to do with the stuff. It just might be the cause of many of the Iodine Deficiency Disorders that are becoming so prevalent in our world to day. Whenever we humans consume what we might like to think of as an adequate diet, rich in nutrition and full of things that have the necessary iodine to maintain a healthy lifestyle; we might just get fooled by modern food processors that give us bromine. Bromine is everywhere. From the potassium bromate in commercially baked breads that are added to make the stuff softer to the flavor enhancer in Mountain Dew and other sodas that use brominated vegetable oils for mouthfeel and taste. And of course the worst offender is the use of bromine based insecticides particularly the use of methyl bromide in the production of commercially raised strawberries. And it's true, the USDA says that the use of methyl bromine is to be halted, with the single exception of strawberry cultivation, where it is allowed and no plans are there to stop its use. EVER.
Does it make a difference? I don't know. there isn't any one out there that will spend the money to study stuff like this. We know bromine is toxic, the EPA lists all the facts about just how nasty the stuff is on their database and we can see how horrific it is. But the fact is, there are certain applications where the use of free bromine salts give a competitive advantage for agrichemical uses and in the manufacture of certain processed foods. The fact that the stuff is toxic is of no consequence to those making money. And make no mistake about it, if someone is making money doing it, then it will be pretty hard to stop it. This is America, where you have the right to make money at the expense of the health of the citizenry. It happens every day.