Skip to main content

A pilot study on iodine in soils of Greater Kabul and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan

Abstract

A robust and rapid methodology for the determination of iodine by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in environmental samples is presented. Data were initially obtained for the validation of the analytical measurements, using 17 commercially available soil reference materials. The methodology was then tested on soil and water samples collected in Afghanistan where iodine deficiency and its effects are reportedly prevalent. Sample collections were conducted in Greater Kabul; the iodine in agricultural soils was determined to be in the range of 1.6–4.2 mg/kg and that in water drawn for drinking and irrigation was found to range from 9.9 to 22.7 μg/L. Samples were also collected in a second region, Nangarhar province, which is located to the east of Kabul, where goitres in the local population had been reported. The iodine content in soils and water at this location was 0.5–1.9 mg/kg and 5.4–9.4 μg/L, respectively. The organic content of soils in Kabul was found to be in the range of 1.9–4.2%; in Nangarhar, organic content ranged from 1.7 to 4.5%. All of the Afghan soils were slightly alkaline at pH 7.6–8.2.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Abrahams, P. W. (2006). Soil geography and human disease: A critical review of the importance of medical cartography. Progress in Physical Geography, 30, 490–512.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. AGS (Afghanistan Geological Survey) (2005a). Geological Map of Quadrangle 3468, Chak Wardak-Syahgerd (509) and Kabul (510) Quadrangles, Afghanistan, AGS Open File report (509/510)–1107-A. Available at: http://afghanistan.cr.usgs.gov.

  3. AGS (2005b). Geologic Map of Quadrangles 3470 and 3370, Jalal-abad (511), Chaghasaray (512) and Jaji-maydan (517) quadrangles, Afghanistan, AGS Open File report (511/512/517)–1108-A. Available at: http://afghanistan.cr.usgs.gov.

  4. Ahmad, A., Parvez, I., & Ud-Din, Z. (2005). Iodine status in children aged 8–11 years in Kabul, Afghanistan. Pakistan Journal Medical Research, 44, 105–110.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Anke, M., Groppel, B., Muller, M., Scholz, E., & Kramer, K. (1995). The iodine supply of humans depending on site, food offer and water supply. Fresenius Journal Analytical Chemistry, 352, 97–101.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Aston, S. R., & Brazier, P. H. (1979). Endemic goitre, the factors controlling iodine deficiency in soils. Science of Total Environment, 11, 99–104.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Benoist, B., Andersson, M., Takkouche, B., & Egli, I. (2003). Prevalence of iodine deficiency worldwide. Lancet, 362, 1859–1860.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Day, T. K., & Powell-Jackson, P. R. (1972). Fluoride, water hardness and endemic goitre. Lancet, 1, 1135–1138.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Delange, F. (1993). The disorders induced by iodine deficiency. Thyroid, 4, 107–128.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Fordyce, F. M., Johnson, C. C., Navarante, U. R. B., Appleton, J. D., & Dissanayake, C. B. (2000). Selenium and iodine in soil, rice and drinking water in relation to endemic goitre in Sri Lanka. Science of Total Environment, 263, 127–141.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Fordyce, F. M., Stewart, A. G., Ge, X., Jiang, J. -Y. & Cave, M. (2003). Environmental controls in IDD: A case study in the Xinjiang Province of China, British Geological Survey Technical Report, CR/01/045N.

  12. Fuge, R. (1989). Iodine in waters: Possible links with endemic goitre. Applied Geochemistry, 4, 203–208.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Fuge, R., & Johnson, C. C. (1986). The geochemistry of iodine—a review. Environmental Geochemistry Health, 8, 31–54.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Gbadebo, A. M., & Oyesanya, T. M. (2005). Assessment of iodine deficiency and goitre incidence in parts of Yewa area of Ogun state, southwestern Nigeria. Environmental Geochemistry Health, 27, 491–499.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Hetzel, B. S. (1989). The story of iodine deficiency: An international challenge in nutrition. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  16. ICCIDD (International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders) (2007). 2007 UNICEF report suggests global progress against iodine deficiency is slowing. IDD Newsletter, 23, 10–11.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Johnson, C. C. (2003a). Database of the iodine content of soils populated with data from published literature. British Geological Survey Commissioned Report, CR/03/004N.

  18. Johnson, C. C. (2003b). The geochemistry of iodine and its application to environmental strategies for reducing risks from iodine deficiency disorders. British Geological Survey Commissioned Report, CR/03/057N.

  19. Johnson, C. C., Strutt, M. H., Hmeurras, M., & Mounir, M. (2002). Iodine in the environment of the High Atlas Mountains, Morocco. British Geological Survey Commissioned Report, CR/02/196N.

  20. Kebatas-Pendias, A., & Pendias, H. (1984). Trace elements in soils and plants. Boca Raton, Florida, USA: CRC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Lim, K. K., Rohana, D. S., Zawiah, A., & Malaimoon, W. M. (2006). An evaluation of the effectiveness of a water iodinator system to supply Malaysia. Tropical Biomedicine, 23, 172–178.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Maberly, G. F., Eastman, C. J., & Carcoron, J. M. (1981). Effect of iodination of a village water supply on goitre size and thyroid function. Lancet, 2, 1270–1272.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Micronutrient Initiative. 2004. Vitamin and mineral deficiency: A damage assessment report for Afghanistan. Available at: http://www.micronutrient.org. Accessed: 1 Oct 2007

  24. Oberlin, O., & Plantin-Carrenard, E. (2007). Goitre and iodine deficiency in Afghanistan: A case-control study. British Journal of Nutrition, 95, 196–203.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Stewart, A. G., Carter, J., Parker, A., & Alloway, B. J. (2003). The illusion of environmental iodine deficiency. Environmental Geochemistry Health, 25, 165–170.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Tan, J. (Ed.). (1989). The atlas of endemic diseases and their environments in the People's Republic of China. Beijing: Science Press

    Google Scholar 

  27. Taylor, H., Vickers, B. P., & Moss-Hayes, V. (2005). Validation of the procedure for the determination of soil pH, BGS Internal Report Number IR/05/080.

  28. UNICEF_CDC, 2002, Summary of Nutrition and Health Survey Badghis Province Afghanistan. Available at: www.aims.org.af/services/seectoral/health/unicef/nutrition_and_health_survey_badghis.pdf. Accessed 4 Oct, 2007

  29. Watts, M. J. (2001). Analysis of iodine and selenium in human breast milk and infant formula. PhD thesis. University of Surrey, Department of Chemistry, Guildford, UK.

  30. Watts, M. J. (2002). Determination of iodine in geological and biological samples by ICP-MS. Paper presented at the 11th Biannual National Atomic Spectroscopy Symposium, Loughborough University, UK.

  31. WHO (World Health Organisation) (2000). Disease eradication/elimination goals: Iodine deficiency disorders. Available at: http://www.who.int/nut/malnutrition_worldwide.htm, http://www.who.int/aboutwho/en/disease_er.htm. Accessed: 4 October 2007

  32. World Health Organisation (2004). Iodine status worldwide: WHO global database on iodine deficiency. In: B. Benoist, M. Andersson, B. Takkouche, & H. Allen (Eds.), Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, World Health Organisation, Geneva.

  33. Xiao-E, Y., Wen-Rong, C., & Ying, F. (2007). Improving human micronutrient nutrition through biofortification in the soil-plant system: China as a case study. Environmental Geochemistry Heath, 29, 413–428.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank the staff of the laboratories of the Afghanistan Geological Survey for the preparation of the Afghan soil samples and assistance in obtaining samples from Nangarhar province. This work was undertaken during a UK Department for International Development funded project for the ‘Institutional Strengthening of the Afghanistan Geological Survey’. Thanks also are extended to Mr. Henry Holbrook for the preparation of the map of Afghanistan. This work is published with the permission of the Director of the British Geological Survey.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. J. Watts.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Watts, M.J., Mitchell, C.J. A pilot study on iodine in soils of Greater Kabul and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan. Environ Geochem Health 31, 503 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-008-9202-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Environmental strategy
  • Goitre
  • ICP-MS
  • Iodine deficiency