Iodized salt provides an extra source of iodine, an essential element the body needs, according to the World Health Organization. Iodine plays an important role in brain development for babies inside the womb and for growing children.
A deficiency in iodine in mothers-to-be may cause spontaneous abortions, stillbirths and congenital conditions, asserts Tulane University. Iodine deficiency disorder in children may lead to stunted growth, mental retardation and speech impairments. People with iodine deficiencies may develop goiters, which are unsightly swellings of the neck.
Deficiencies were common before the introduction of iodized salt, because although iodine was present in normal diets, the amount was not enough, states the World Health Organization. Adding iodine to table salt became an inexpensive way to eliminate iodine deficiency in the general population.