The Dow Chemical Company and Micronutrient Initiative Work to Stop Anemia in Sri Lanka
The Dow Chemical Company and the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) announced today that Dow will support MI’s work to help eradicate iron deficiency, the leading cause of anemia, in Sri Lanka. Avoidable maternal deaths, poor learning among school children and major losses in work force productivity are three common consequences of iron deficiency anemia.
The World Health Organization lists iron deficiency as one of the top 10 risk factors for premature deaths around the world. Because iron deficiency is a major problem, the Government of Sri Lanka implemented a strategy to prevent anemia among women during pregnancy.
Dow will provide MI with funding for the purchase materials essential to creating fortified foods. In addition, Dow will provide MI a very small, but key ingredient, METHOCEL™ cellulose ethers, which chemically binds iron and iodine to salt, resulting in easier digestion. The amount of METHOCEL™ cellulose ethers will provide enough Double Fortified Salt to benefit at least 900,000 people within Sri Lanka over a year
“Dow’s METHOCEL cellulose esters have a 60-year history of providing unique solutions in applications ranging from pharmaceutical excipients and food additives to being a key component of building construction systems,” said Marty Kollmeyer, business director for METHOCEL™ cellulose ethers for Dow. “METHOCEL can play a key technological role in the ability to incorporate iron into salt, thereby helping to eradicate iron deficiency.”
The Sri Lanka project is particularly promising due to the commitment from the government as well as the two major salt producers that will soon be iodizing 70 to 80 percent of the salt in the country.
“The great promise of double fortified salt is in its power to reach large populations at such a low cost. Fortifying salt with both iron and iodine costs approximately 20 US cents per person, per year.” said Venkatesh Mannar, president of the Micronutrient Initiative. “We thank Dow for its leadership in providing financial support to the efforts to double fortify salt in Sri Lanka and we commend the government and local salt producers on their demonstrated commitment to health and nutrition.”
Dow’s work with MI to help address vitamin and mineral deficiency in Sri Lanka is a prime example of Dow’s 2015 Sustainability Goals it announced in April, 2006. The goals seek to address the most pressing challenges faced by the world today.
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