Warning Against Dangers of
Iodized Salt

The Chief Justice,
Supreme Court,
New Delhi.

Respected Sir,

The Government of India and State Governments have no constitutional right to make any law to force me or anyone else to consume iodized salt. I want to retain the option of not using iodized salt when I do not require it. No law in the world can force me to use it. Only those persons should use iodized salt for whose health it is suitable or beneficial.

Any compulsion regarding the use of iodized salt is illegal and unconstitutional. There are many people like me who are against compulsion regarding the use of iodized salt. Regular use of iodized salt is not suitable for most people living in countries or regions with a hot tropical climate as is the case in most parts of India.

I know of many people using iodized salt who have become very seriously sick. I have personally met a number of people in Pune and Bombay who had been using iodized salt in their food and had lost immunity to various diseases and particularly to those associated with diarrhea. Most of them got cured after they listened to my advice and stopped taking iodized salt.

Iodized salt manufactured in India is deliberately made to contain a dangerously high amount of iodine to compensate for the loss of iodine that results from its long storage. This is a foolish, short-sighted and criminal policy. Some people who are unlucky in using the freshly manufactured iodized salt suffer tremendously due to the excessive ingestion of iodine.

Excessive consumption of iodine can cause or aggravate the following conditions:

  1.   Hyperthyroidism (which produces excess heat in the body).
  2.   Diarrhea, dysentery, gastro-enteritis, cholera.
  3.   Rapid loss in weight.
  4.   Respiratory distress.
  5.   Gout.
  6.   Diabetes.
  7.   Kidney stones.
  8.   Skin cancer.
  9.   Severe pain in various parts of the body.
10.   Susceptibility to AIDS.

The excessive consumption of iodine through the use of iodized salt is one of the main causes of AIDS. This can be proved scientifically. AIDS is more prevalent in western countries where people regularly use iodized salt. So we should not blindly ape the West where AIDS and other dangerous diseases are spreading rapidly.

The incidence of AIDS has rapidly increased in India after the consumption of iodized salt started on a large scale. Compulsory use of iodized salt would lead to a havoc of enormous proportions. It would be a thousand times worse that the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. A poor country like India cannot afford to have the scourge of AIDS.

Only in the areas where goiter is widespread should the use of iodized salt be made a regular habit. The lives of crores of people should not be endangered for the sake of a few. The whims and fancies of a handful of misguided politicians and pseudo-scientists should be curbed. The Government has no right to play with the lives of crores of poor innocent people who are not even aware of the extreme danger they are exposed to.

I request the Honorable Supreme Court to prevent the Union and State Governments from taking any hasty steps in making the consumption of iodized salt compulsory. I earnestly hope that you would safeguard my legitimate interests and also the constitutional rights of all the people of India against the arbitrary and blatant interference by the Government in determining the food habits of the masses.

Yours sincerely,

Ashok Jaisinghani.

Letter, dated 29 March 1990, addressed to
The Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi,
with copies sent to:
The then President of India, R. Venkataraman.
Health Minister, Government of India.
Health Ministers of Indian State Governments.
World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Members of the Indian Parliament (at that time): Atal Behari Vajpayee, L. K. Advani, Ram Jethmalani, Subramaniam Swamy.
Editors of important Indian newspapers and magazines.
And others.